Without the permission from the University of Connecticut, Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Florida changed its logo to “Wolfie” — a Husky identical to that of the UConn mascot.
Westglades Middle School, whose mascot is the wolves, used the exact same Husky face to represent their school, UConn Director of Strategic Partnerships Kyle Muncy said.
Once Muncy was made aware of the trademark breach by UConn Communications staff, he brought it to the attention of Westglades Middle School.
“I reached out to the school first thing Tuesday morning,” Muncy said. “Frankly I heard back from the principal from the middle school within 45 minutes and he basically said that he didn’t realize that [it was a trademark issue].”
Calling it a very “professional, cordial response,” Muncy said the school took immediate action to scrub the identical logo from all signage on their campus, as well as all online posts.
“I don’t think he was in charge of the logo,” Muncy said. “So he wasn’t aware that the logo was the same as ours and was going to work to get it resolved immediately.”
“The middle school’s leadership took immediate action to address the rectify the issue with its newly redesigned logo,” the Broward County Public Schools Office of Communications said in a statement. “The school apologizes for the mistake. There was never any intent to infringe upon or harm the University of Connecticut’s brand.”
Instances like this are fairly common, Muncy said. He estimated eight to 10 times a year his office will be made aware of a trademark infringement.
“Certainly instances where a group is using our logo are mostly an oversight or are harmless or they don’t realize they aren’t allowed to use our logo,” Muncy said. “The challenge is in 2020 the world is a lot smaller … as soon as someone brings it to my attention, I have an obligation to address it.”
There are instances where UConn has allowed some organizations to use the Husky logo. Namely, youth organizations in Connecticut, but UConn receives royalties from these deals that are put toward student scholarships and the group pays an initial $1,500 licensing fee, Muncy said.
UConn has trademarks on all of the school’s logos and mascot faces — past and present, according to Muncy. This is done mostly to allow merchandising partners the ability to print and sell retro goods.
When UConn changed their logo in 2013, a UConn Today article responded to the similarities between the two animals in their responses to a series of questions.
“The difference between huskies and wolves is a common point of confusion for many people,” the article said. “Our new Husky logo is, and will always be, a Siberian Husky.”
Westglades Middle School has tweaked their mascot to now be a more friendly, furry wolf; though, the animal still has the UConn Husky look at its core.
Broward County Schools acknowledged questioning from The Daily Campus, but did not respond to questions by the time of print.