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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH v. CHAMPION PRODS.

January 7, 1982

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, a non-profit corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAMPION PRODUCTS, INC., a corporation, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

I.

 Preliminary Statement

 Plaintiff, University of Pittsburgh, seeks an injunction to prohibit the defendant, Champion Products, Inc., from marketing clothing, more particularly, "T-shirts," sweatshirts, jackets, and other wearing apparel known in the trade as "soft goods," decorated with the words "University of Pittsburgh," "Pitt" and various other words, emblems and artwork related to the University. Plaintiff also seeks an accounting for the defendant's past sales of Pitt insignia goods.

 Following a hearing on December 4, 1981, we denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. At the request of the parties, we accelerated the time for a hearing on plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction and other related relief. By stipulation the trial was bifurcated and the Court heard testimony only on the merits of the request for injunctive relief.

 II.

 Findings of Fact

 a. The Parties.

 1. Plaintiff, the University of Pittsburgh ("Pitt"), is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation having an office at 3209 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260. Pitt was established as an institution of higher learning in 1787, and changed its name from Western University of Pennsylvania to its present name in 1908.

 2. Defendant, Champion Products, Inc. ("Champion"), is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of New York with its principal place of business at 3141 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, New York 14618.

 3. Pitt filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on December 2, 1981. On December 3, 1981, Champion removed the case to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (1948). The complaint contains four counts: Count I alleges common law trademark infringement, Count II, trademark infringement under 73 P.S. § 23, Count III, unfair competition, and Count IV, false designation of origin and false description of goods in violation of the Lanham Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) (1946).

 4. Pitt is a major university consisting of undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. It is one of the oldest universities in the United States. Pitt has acquired and enjoyed an outstanding reputation for many years throughout and beyond the United States.

 b. The Name and Insignia.

 5. Since it adopted its present name in 1908, plaintiff, the University of Pittsburgh, has been widely known as "Pitt." "Pitt" and the "University of Pittsburgh" have become synonymous. We are not aware of any other school named or known as "Pitt" or the "University of Pittsburgh." Shortly after changing its name to the present form, Pitt adopted the panther as its mascot. Since that time, the school's athletic teams have been known and referred to as the "Pitt Panthers," or simply as the "Panthers."

 6. The marks "University of Pittsburgh" and "Pitt" were used on Pitt's athletic uniforms more than 50 years ago. More than 30 years ago a student dressed as a panther appeared at Pitt athletic events as a mascot.

 c. Time Frame.

 7. Since at least World War II, Pitt has been selling various articles of clothing bearing one or more of the insignia University of Pittsburgh, Pitt and Pitt Panthers with variants including Pitt's seal and various representations of a panther. Those insignia have been applied to such articles as T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, lab coats and neckties. The marks have also been applied to class rings, ceramics, mugs and a wide variety of small articles. In 1980, Pitt applied for and received certificates of registration for some twenty-seven of its insignia with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1961, 1971 and 1981, it obtained Pennsylvania ...


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