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. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

ADVERTISEMENT