Crime & Justice

The battle over the "SC" logo now has a winner

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A 13-year battle over which university gets to use the “SC” logo on apparel and other merchandise is over. KPCC’s Nick Roman says you’ll find the winner at Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard.

On the West Coast, “USC” has always meant the University of Southern California. But the University of South Carolina also calls itself “USC.” Many, many years ago, the USC where Tommy Trojan hangs out began to use a two-letter logo with an interlocking “S” and “C” logo in cardinal and gold block letters. Years later, South Carolina also started using a two-letter logo with an interlocking “S” and “C.” The USC Trojan top brass sued, claiming trademark infringement. Trademarks are a big deal; the University of Southern California sells millions of dollars of apparel with the “SC” logo. South Carolina insisted that its “SC” logo – with cursive letters and different colors – was no infringement. But that didn’t convince the federal Commerce Department’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Boards; it didn’t convince a federal judge; and now it hasn’t convinced the US Supreme Court to grant South Carolina a hearing. The University of Southern California has won the logo war. When the USC Trojans shout “We are SC!” - they’re right.