Less than a year after its last widely-publicized foolishness in trying to punish free expression, UNH (aka "my employer") is now trying do something about the Authentic Durham website. Because, apparently, it also answers to the URL www.unhdrunks.com.
As you might guess without even looking, the website enthusiastically embraces and publicizes a substance-fueled party-hearty collegiate lifestyle that UNH would really like to disown.
The story in our local paper is here. UNH claims the site "violates tradmarks owned by the University." And UNH demands "all university marks, such as its name, logos and slogans, be removed from the site"
My immediate thought: we have UNH slogans? What are they?
I didn't look very hard, but browsing the site doesn't turn up anything that could confuse anyone into thinking it's a UNH site. There may be some pictures of inebriated boys and girls wearing, or barfing on, UNH-logoed sweatshirts. (I didn't see them, but it's a reasonable guess.) There is liberal use of the terms "UNH" and "University of New Hampshire", but really, anyone can put those words on their website when referring to Our Institution. (Er, can't they?)
Apparently the major sticking point is the "UNHDrunks.com" domain because it contains those three magic letters "UNH".
I Am Not A Lawyer, But: you can search for trademarks here. Searching for "MIT", "UVM", or "RPI" will show that those respective Universities have registered those strings. Search for "UNH" and you get hits for only "UNHLATEX" and "UNH FLOATRACK" (honest). ("University of New Hampshire" gives a hit.)
Goodness knows what will happen next. The folks at "Authentic Durham" seem reasonably defiant. And UNH administration has a proud history of getting things wrong in this area. (In addition to the link above, see here, or here, or here.) Could be be fun to watch.