Feeds

Cisco sued by East Carolina University

Apparently tomorrow starts in Greenville, not San Jose

The essential guide to IT transformation

East Carolina University (ECU), which is based in the rural town of Greenville on the hatchet face of North Carolina, is probably the last organization you would expect to pick a legal fight with networking giant and server wannabe Cisco Systems. But late last week ECU, whose football team is pretty good and goes by the name the Pirates, accused Cisco of stealing the school's marketing slogan for a new marketing campaign.

The issue is where tomorrow starts.

A month ago at its financial analyst day, Cisco started a new marketing campaign, which a Reuters report says will see the company invest $US100m in the slogan ""Tomorrow starts here." You can find the web presence for this marketing campaign here.

Cisco says tomorrow starts here

Cisco says tomorrow starts here

We're sure Reg readers will rush out and buy more bit buckets as a result. But ECU's reaction is rather less positive, as it has been using the same slogan for more than a decade, as the image below shows.

Tomorrow also starts at East Carolina University

Tomorrow also starts at East Carolina University

In a statement relating to the lawsuit, East Carolina said that it is seeking injunctive relief and damages for unauthorized use of the trademark.

"ECU has used the mark 'Tomorrow Starts Here' for over a decade, including in national advertisements and publications such as Forbes and Wired," said university chancellor Steve Ballard. "We feel it is essential to take action to protect that defining trademark of our identity and vision." The university, which is 105 years old and which is the second-largest university in the state of North Carolina, argues in its complaint that the brand that the university uses has overlapping areas with Cisco, and hence will cause confusion. East Carolina says that its College of Technology and Computer Science has created products and intellectual property "that are actively being commercialized" and that it is a leader in distance education technology that is heavily promoted with the brand. It is unlikely that the university is manufacturing switches, routers, servers, and collaboration software.

It is not clear as El Reg goes to press if Cisco had applied for a trademark on the use of the phrase, but what is clear is that Cisco doesn't think there is any confusion and therefore East Carolina's lawsuit is without merit.

"Cisco takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and we are confident that our new campaign does not create any confusion in the marketplace," a spokesperson for Cisco says.

It is a bit of a stretch to see how people might confuse the networking giant with a satellite campus of the University of North Carolina system. But that is precisely what East Carolina is arguing in its lawsuit, which was filed in federal court.

A commenter on the website of the local TV station in Greenville pegged it perfectly: "Personally, I think the International Date Line should sue both Cisco and ECU for using a slogan that is applicable only to the IDL. . . where tomorrow really DOES start!"

East Carolina and Cisco should settle this matter quickly. Perhaps it needs a new computer lab with shiny new Cisco switches and servers. The school certainly seems to need some money, like many universities and colleges these days. Willard said in an open letter in April 2011 that the university had lost $102m in state funding in the prior four years and was estimating at the time that North Carolina would cut its base budget by $30m to $50m in the following fiscal year. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?