BRADENTON — The “Seminole Wars” are apparently not over, though Southeast High football fans won’t have to worry about it affecting their big game with arch rival Manatee tonight.
Manatee County School board attorney John Bowen called unacceptable a proposal he received from Florida State University last week that would allow Southeast to continue to use school logos that have been in place for 30 years.
FSU initially claimed the Southeast logo was an infringement on its trademark rights. However, it was believed the university and Southeast had reach an agreement a few weeks ago that would end the dispute.
But Bowen said he does not believe the new proposal meets the spirit of their agreement.
“I don’t find it acceptable. It gives us a license to use our own logos and marks, and it’s only for one year,” Bowen said.
“I need something that allows us to continue to use it (the logo) without a challenge. We do need an agreement for our vendors that we can show they are not going to get into trouble with FSU for manufacturing apparel with the Southeast marks on it.”
Dayton Michael Cramer, deputy general counsel for FSU does not agree with Bowen’s assessment, but said he would wait for him to send a counter proposal.
“We believe it’s a very fair offer,” Cramer said. “I’m not sure what else we can offer them at least in terms of the law and trademark in order to protect our marks. This particular agreement was structured after the one prepared for Georgia Tech and the use of marks at a high school, and it worked.”
Cramer said his proposal was even softer because FSU is not requiring Southeast to pay any fees, which is normally required in a license agreement.
“I am working on a new proposal which states there is no infringement because there is no chance of the public confusing Southeast with FSU,” Bowen said.
“No one is going to confuse our orange and blue Seminole head with their garnet and gold Seminole head. They are also at a different level than us. They are a major university and we are a high school, and the public is not going to be confused.”
Bowen said Southeast can continue to use its logos until the school is ordered to stop by a court of law, but he doesn’t think the issue will go that far.