Judge Orders Houston College of Law to Revert Back to Its Old Name [UPDATED]
This sign is now very, very useless.
The Houston College of Law is no more, a federal judge ruled Friday.
The school must immediately revert back to its old name, the South Texas College of Law, after an ill-fated re-branding attempt that spurred a lawsuit by the University of Houston.
Judge Keith Ellison issued a preliminary injunction against South Texas College of Law, forcing the school to revert to its former name.
"The University is pleased a federal court recognized the University of Houston’s strong trademarks and its reputation as a top-tier law school," UH said in a statement. "The University of Houston appreciates the work of its legal team."
South Texas College of Law sought the name change to firmly ground the institution in Houston in the eyes of the public, instead of the vague southern region of the second-most expansive state in the country.
But officials at UH thought that name was too close to that of its own law school, the University of Houston Law Center, and would cause confusion among consumers. UH publicly threatened to sue South Texas College of Law if it went through with the name change, but South Texas did it anyway.
So it is difficult to have sympathy for all the money the school briefly known as the Houston College of Law spent on stationery, signs, Internet domains, pens, bumper stickers and T-shirts.
As of Friday afternoon, South Texas College of Law had yet to change its name on its website.
Spokeswoman Claire Caton said she would send a statement. We'll update this story when she does.
Here's the full statement from UH's counsel, mega-lawyer Tony Buzbee:
"We are pleased with the court's decision. The evidence showed overwhelmingly that the name change caused confusion in the marketplace," said Tony Buzbee, principal of The Buzbee Law Firm, which is representing UH as lead counsel. "The next step is for South Texas College of Law to remove their billboards, change their website, remove merchandise from stores and change their name in the American Bar Association database. This is a complete victory for the University of Houston and the UH Law Center."
Update, October 17, 11:52 a.m.: The Houston College of Law released the following statement:
“We are disappointed by the opinion delivered today by the Court, which grants the motion for preliminary injunction in our ongoing name change litigation. The law school’s legal team is reviewing the opinion to determine the way forward. We will continue to keep our community informed of additional developments as they arise.”