Both schools claim the term “wolfpack” as a moniker for their sports teams, but NC State alleges that it is the exclusive owner of the term, and if Loyola wants to use it, the school has to license the name from NCSU. As we know in trademark law, usually the first to use a term as a source identifier in commerce is the rightful owner of the mark. However, here we might have an interesting case of reverse confusion – this happens when the newer user of the mark (in this case, NCSU started using wolfpack in 1947, after Loyola first used it) engages in such heavy marketing of the mark that the newer user overwhelms the market and the consumer mistakenly believes that the older and original user of the mark (Loyola initially used the mark in 1930, but then suspended their athletic program, only to reinstate it again in 1991) is in some way associated with the newer user of the mark. To complicate matters, when NCSU registered the mark in 1983, the mark was not being used by Loyola (and was perhaps abandoned by them since their athletic program was suspended at the time). Like in any trademark case, the question at issue here will be: is there a likelihood of confusion? Both teams are D1, but do college sports fans exclusively associate the term wolfpack with NCSU? We shall see. More coverage at New Observer. Check out the NCSU Wolfpack and the Loyola Wolfpack.

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