IBJNews

Dueling Franklins iron out trademark dispute

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana-based Franklin College and Ohio-based Franklin University resolved their legal case last night, with Franklin University agreeing to take specific steps in its advertisements to distinguish itself from Franklin College.

The agreed judgment against Franklin University was negotiated yesterday by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Tim Baker, according to attorneys involved in the case. It is still awaiting the formal signature of U.S. District Court Judge William Lawrence before it becomes official.

The agreement will go into affect Aug. 3, affecting Franklin University’s marketing in the Indianapolis area. Franklin University must include the word “Ohio” at least once in all its advertisements, brochures and students recruiting efforts.

Franklin University cannot use the word “Indianapolis” or “Indiana,” and cannot merely refer to itself as “Franklin.” It also cannot use Web sites or e-mail addresses that contain the words” Indianapolis,” “Indiana” or “Indy.”

And perhaps most persnickety, Franklin University cannot use the Waters Titling font in its advertisements—which it currently is not using.

To make sure Franklin University complies with the agreement, it must provide Franklin College advance copies of any new marketing materials before releasing them. Franklin College will then have two days to object to any content in the ads or other materials.

Spokeswomen for the two schools said they could not yet comment on the agreement.

Franklin College sued Franklin University on July 6 in federal court in Indianapolis, asking for an injunction against Franklin University for trademark infringement.

Confusion over the two schools’ names sprung up this spring when Franklin University announced it would open a campus in Indianapolis. The 107-year-old, not-for-profit school leased office space in Castleton and began frequent print and radio ads.

But Franklin College said the marketing blitz was too close to Franklin College’s own branding.

Franklin College officials said they have received many calls, comments and e-mail messages asking why the school has changed its name or whether it has opened a satellite office for online courses. They also complained that the colors and clock tower in some Franklin University ads are strikingly similar to Franklin College’s logo.

Sherry Mercurio, a spokeswoman for Franklin University, said earlier this month that the school has been using its name in a “factual and consistent manner.”

The two schools have different missions. Franklin College is a liberal arts school that enrolls mostly 18-to-22-year-olds, nearly all of whom reside on its campus in Franklin, a city 30 minutes south of Indianapolis. The school has about 1,000 students.

Franklin University enrolls primarily working adults, whose average age is over 30. Many of its courses are taught online. Indianapolis is the first new U.S. market for Franklin University, which plans to expand in the Midwest and even in other countries. The school has about 11,000 students.

In an interview in June, Linda Steele, vice president of marketing for Franklin University, said the school never considered operating under a different name than Franklin in Indianapolis.

"The Franklin College issue came up and we really did have to take a step back and ask the question whether that is a showstopper," Steele said. "Obviously, we think not, because we chose to go forward."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Again, Maria.... how much are YOU contributing? The man doesn't HAVE to give a red cent! What don't you get about that? And, I know this might actually require some actual "facts", but can you please point me to the parking garage that the city gave to him?

  2. Another internet tuff guy I see. And what would the basis of taking the person to jail? If they were drunk, yea. But if not, there would be no jailable offense. All these gestapo, Nazi, jackboots are running SCARED. When the SHTF in this country who's side are you going to be on? The citzens, or the establishment? Better make up your mind quick because it's not far off. I would rather be trying to make friends than enemies. But no worries my "friend", God will take care of you and your likes in good time. It tells us that in the bible. If you stand, support and help carry out the plans of evil rulers, you will NOT be spared the wrath of God. That simple. All you can do is repent now and ask God to forgive you.

  3. Yes, Ersal, thank you for donating a whole $75,000, while the city gives you a parking garage for free and is going to pay for a multi million dollar stadium for you. I'd be donating money too if I was on welfare.

  4. I live and work in Broad Ripple and agree 100% that the traffic is not a significant problem. It can be slow at some times, but hey...this is an urban area. As for the development itself...HOORAY. Office and retail development brings people during the day, something that our community needs much more of. Thank goodness people are finally waking up to take advantage of the serene White River views. The BRVA land us committee endorsed the project because they know how these kind of projects help offset the cries of "too many bars". Pray that this development, and the proposed major investment by Browning, move forward. And remember Good Earth, these will mean hundreds of daytime people - potential shoppers for your store.

  5. Under current, previous existing law, this new law would be unconstitutional. Not that supposedly having to have a driver's license to drive isn't in the first place.

ADVERTISEMENT