Oregon eases up on deadline for Okoboji to ditch 'O' emblem

Oregon eases up on deadline for Okoboji to ditch 'O' emblem
The old Okoboji logo (left) and the new Okoboji pioneer logo.

OKOBOJI, Iowa (AP) — The University of Oregon and an Iowa school district have resolved a trademark dispute sparked by the use of a Nike-designed "O'' emblem.

The Sioux City Journal reported Friday that the Eugene, Ore., university relented on its insistence that Okoboji schools in northwest Iowa stop using the logo within a year.

School district officials had said they couldn't afford to replace all the logos so quickly.

"I think they had it on their uniforms and that takes a little time to fix," said Nita Nickell, the university's assistant director of marketing and brand management.

Oregon contacted the district in December 2012 after becoming aware that Okoboji's maroon "O'' looked nearly identical to the university's "O," which was designed by shoe and apparel company Nike. The Oregon "O'' has gained national recognition as the Ducks have built a football powerhouse known for its flashy uniforms.

Superintendent Gary Janssen said Oregon had a legitimate concern and that the school district worked to resolve the matter.

"The Okoboji 'O' was almost identical to the Oregon 'O' and they asked us to stop using their logo," Janssen said. "They were looking at it as protecting their turf. We did the right thing and created a new logo."

Okoboji's new logo, created by a Des Moines marketing firm that surveyed parents and students, features a bearded pioneer wearing a raccoon-skin hat. He's backed by an "O'' that doesn't have the University of Oregon's distinctive shape.

"We were looking for things like strength, perseverance and leadership with the new logo," Janssen said. "Based on the overall reaction, most of the people were really happy with it."

Janssen said some logos could be replaced quickly, such as banners and letterheads. It will take more time and money to put the new logo on scoreboards.

The district replaces 20 percent of uniforms each year, so within five years, the contested 'O' will be completely replaced with the new emblem.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press