East Carolina University has filed a lawsuit in a federal court against Cisco Systems, a networking giant known for their teleconferencing technology and the now discontinued Flip video camera.
ECU's beef with Cisco is over a slogan "Tomorrow Begins Here," which the networking company recently began using in December.
“ECU has used the mark ‘Tomorrow Starts Here’ for over a decade, including in national advertisements and publications such as Forbes and Wired,” ECU chancellor Steve Ballard said in a statement. “We feel it is essential to take action to protect that defining trademark of our identity and vision.”
The university alleges Cisco is violating its federally registered trademark rights, and believes Cisco's use of the slogan could cause confusion due to ECU's technology initiatives, PC World reports:
Apparently to emphasize that Cisco's and the university's use of the trademark could confuse the consumer, ECU said that trademark "Tomorrow Starts Here" is a university-wide brand that "represents an overlapping field of goods and services when compared with that of Cisco."
Research initiatives through ECU's College of Technology and Computer Science, for example, have created products and intellectual property that are actively being commercialized, the university said. ECU also said it promotes its global online education program using the mark "Tomorrow Starts Here."
However, Cisco appears to be caught totally off guard.
“We were surprised to learn that East Carolina University filed a complaint this morning," a Cisco spokesperson told All Things Digital on Friday. "Cisco takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and we are confident that our new campaign does not create any confusion in the marketplace.”
Cisco was previously using the tagline "The Human Network" before the December 2012 launch of its new marketing campaign to position itself as a broader information technology company, Reuters reports.