You can trademark anything these days. Pat Riley, of course, owns "three-peat." Michael Strahan has "Stomp You Out." Jared Allen registered "Got Strange?" But owning a swath of the color spectrum is mighty presumptuous. Since Syracuse dropped the "men" from "Orangemen," the school has been trying to do just that. Other schools that have orange in their names or uniforms don't much like it . Among them: Boise State (which already owns blue astroturf), Tennessee, the University of the Pacific, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Florida and Auburn.
As this Inside Higher Ed article indicates, though, some of the schools might be leaning toward an alliance with Syracuse:
Late last year, though, several colleges that use orange as one of their main colors for sports, marketing, and the like caught wind of the trademark filing. Feeling threatened — and in many cases believing that Syracuse's assertion of trademark applied to the color, as well as the word — they moved to protect their own. Since February, seven colleges have filed varying forms of opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At least two more have communicated directly with Syracuse about the trademark application, but did not file formal opposition.
But rather than incite competition, with these institutions duking it out for exclusive rights to "orange," Syracuse's application may instead result in an alliance among them. All of the colleges that responded to interview requests insisted that correspondence with Syracuse and among themselves has been 100 percent amicable.
There was a time when the rights of colors trumped the rights of corporatized educational institutions on the hustle. The year was 1791.
Can You Own a Color? [Inside Higher Ed]