Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) has been sued by East Carolina University for trademark infringement because of its use of the marketing slogan, “Tomorrow Starts Here.” The slogan has been one of the main components of Cisco’s new branding campaign, which started toward the end of last year. The slogan was aimed at showing how networking has become more important than computing as the Internet continues to grow.
East Carolina University announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) over the use of that slogan because it has been using it for more than 10 years, both in publications like Wired and Forbes and national advertisements. In order for the university to successfully defend the use of its slogan against Cisco, it must prove that the company’s use of that trademark will create confusion for consumers.
In a statement the university released some indications of the case it will make against Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO). The statement pointed out that its College of Technology and Computer Science has “created products and intellectual property that are actively being commercialized.” It said this would cause an “overlapping field of goods and services when compared with that of Cisco.”
As All Things D points out, the real question will be whether ECU’s technology goods and Cisco’s networking gadgets really do create branding confusion for consumers. The publication speculates that the university and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) will arrive at a settlement in the case, especially since Cisco has plenty of cash, which universities always seem to need more of.
UPDATE: Cisco has responded with the following comment:
“We were surprised to learn that East Carolina University filed a complaint this morning. Cisco takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and we are confident that our new campaign does not create any confusion in the marketplace.”