The Daily Iowan

New regents’ policy restricts trademark use

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The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)


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CEDAR FALLS — The state Board of Regents on June 7 approved a change to its policy on trademark use during a meeting at the University of Northern Iowa.

Under the proposed policy, individuals, organizations, or entities would have to obtain a written license agreement granted by the institution with no exceptions.

Regent Investment and Finance Committee Chair Larry McKibben recommended the policy during the regents’ February meeting in Ames after reviewing current policies on the institutional level. The regents approved the policy by a unanimous vote June 7.

Earlier proposals had included exceptions for use by the news media for news reporting, use by an artist in an original work that will not be reproduced or sold for

profit, use of an institution’s name or other identification in a congratulatory or supportive advertising message, or Other noncommercial use that officials reasonably determine to be in the best interests of the institution.

A regent official said the regents wanted to simplify the language to make the policy easier to understand.

From now on, license agreements would not be granted if the protected mark is or would become the name or trade name of an nonaffiliated person, organization, or entity.

Community Bankers of Iowa Association CEO Dave Caris spoke at the April meeting in Council Bluffs to support the proposal, noting that the University of Iowa Community Credit Union has no affiliation with the UI. He said the regents should think about the risk to the UI’s reputation in case the credit union falls on hard times, and he urged the regents to support the policy.

“The University of Iowa Community Credit Union started out decades ago as a true credit union serving the needs of U of I students, faculty, and staff,” Caris said during the public-comment portion of the meeting in April. “Today, it has gone far beyond its intended purpose, has no tie to the University of Iowa, and it’s grown to be Iowa’s largest financial institution with nearly $5 billion in assets and last year $70 million in net income.”

He also noted the credit union’s tactic of aggressive advertising in rural Iowa.

“They turn around, and loan those funds out, and hurt Americans in Eastern Iowa and Central Iowa, which negatively affects the rural communities and the community banks serving those areas,” he said.

— Emily Wangen

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