Harvard Sues Online Company Over Name
Harvard University has sued the Internet startup notHarvard.com for trademark violations, saying the online company that sued the university recently is unlawfully exploiting the lucrative Ivy League name for financial gain.
The suit, filed last month in U.S. District Court, seeks $75,000 in damages from notHarvard.com, which offers online educational courses and tries to sell related products to students — pitching travel guides to language students, for example.
“We take very seriously educational institutions that trade on the Harvard name, and, in this case, use it for marketing
purposes,” says Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn.
The Austin, Texas-based online company filed a pre-emptive suit, asking a federal judge to declare that notHarvard.com’s name does not violate Harvard’s trademark.
The dot-com firm does not claim an association with the
university, and insists the “not” in its name makes that clear.
Harvard’s lawsuit is just the latest effort by the elite
Cambridge institution to prevent the plundering of its name for profit. The school recently cracked down on cyber-squatters who claimed Web sites with “Harvard” in their URLs to attract Web traffic.
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