January 30, 2004
Two down, 47 to go

Last year, it was Texas v. New Mexico in a border dispute smackdown. Now it's a trademark tussle with Wyoming.

The silhouette of a bucking horse with lowered head, kicking rear legs and a hat-waving cowboy aboard is everywhere in Wyoming: the license plate, University of Wyoming gear, the carpet in the governor's office.

But if you're not authorized to display the bucking horse, beware.

Secretary of State Joe Meyer and Gov. Dave Freudenthal have asked the Legislature to front $1 million to wage a legal battle with the Texas Stampede, a Dallas organization that holds an annual rodeo for children's medical charities, if it does not stop using the logo. Lawmakers will consider the proposal when they meet next month.

"It represents Wyoming," summed up Meyer, a former attorney general and University of Wyoming roommate with Vice President Dick Cheney.

"There is such a pride of ownership in all the citizens of this state. UW has used it forever. Certainly our troops over in Iraq have it on their uniforms. It's simply us."

The Texas Stampede filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a few months ago for ownership of the logo. Wyoming opposed the filing and the Texas Stampede, which was established in 2001, responded by saying Wyoming had abandoned the mark.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is not expected to rule on the matter for another six months. Wyoming could take the matter to federal court if it disagrees with the ruling or before then, in which case the board would likely defer to the judge in the case.

The Texas Stampede and Wyoming logos are virtually identical. The only difference is the Texas Stampede logo faces left and the Wyoming logo right, and the Texas Stampede cowboy wears chaps.

A Texas Stampede spokeswoman declined to comment.

Someone get Jerry Patterson on the line and see if he wants to make the same settlement offer to Gov. Freudenthal as he did last year with New Mexico. That seems to be the best way to utilize his talents.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 30, 2004 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack