Harvard Threatens Schools in Uganda With Trademark Infringement Litigation

There are many third rate institutions that grant degrees. Anyone setting up a college in Oxford or Cambridge can use the name of the place, but cannot call themselves a college that is part of the University. I suppose a suitably ancient sounding college name such as Henry VII College Oxford or Wollesley College Cambridge might possibly be a money spinner.

Anyway, a Ugandan paper has reported that Harvard (the US Ivy League college with leading business and law schools) has threatened other, less well known, colleges in Uganda that use the name Harvard.

 See http://allafrica.com/stories/200712060090.html

So next time some over-qualified toffee nosed lawyer informs you that he studied at Harvard, you can ask if he means Harvard College, Uganda? 

Categories: Academia, News, passing off, trademarks

1 reply

  1. This story raises the old issue about the determinants of ‘famous’ marks. Whereas the people using the Harvard name as primary schools, colleges etc believe that it has some goodwill attached to it, it is really unclear to what extent the general public will be encouraged to enroll in these institutions. The question of how famous the name is in Uganda is, in my view still debatable.

    secondly, to the best of my knowledge, Harvard University would ordinarily have been registered as a service mark. Since Service marks are not yet registrable under Ugandan law, the extent of protection available to the University is still in doubt, unless only the word Harvard was registered, possibly under class 16. The jury is still out on this one!

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