WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE...
With Kelowna Secondary School dropping its mascot logo last week after complaints of copyright violation, it wouldn't be the first time a not so original motif found its way into the city.
While the school was caught infringing on the trademark belonging to Philadelphia's Temple University, some of Kelowna's most iconic brands have eerily similar look-a-likes.
In 2000, the Kelowna Rockets unveiled new art featuring the now-familiar Ogopogo on the front. Trouble was, they weren't the first sports team to use it and not even the first hockey team. It was quickly discovered to be nearly identical to the dragon on the San Antonio Dragons logo. The only differences are colour, wings and horns.
In 2009, the City of Kelowna took two years and spent $80,000 choosing its current rainbow colored spirographic to replace a simple picture of the Sails. Shortly after it was released it was discovered another designer had created a nearly identical pattern in 2007.
Kelowna Senior Secondary's owl graphic has already been removed from its website. Temple University called the Central Okanagan School board last week to point out the Owl design was its artistic property.
“Temple University actually contacted us directly saying our logo was a reasonably close fascilime of their university logo,” said school board secretary treasurer Larry Paul.
How did the graphic sneak its way into the school's branding? Paul says while the school has used an owl mascot for decades they decided to refresh the graphic when they moved locations in 2002. The school's former owl logo was replaced with the one trademarked to Temple University.
“It happened when the school moved to its new location, it was a staff decision,” he says.
“I suspect someone pulled a nice looking graphic of the internet and thought it would be nice to use at the school, not considering the trademark restriction,” he says.
Paul says the individual responsible was likely unaware college sports teams have trademarks for their logos the same way corporations and professional sports teams do.
And it appears Kelowna Secondary was not the only school to fancy the graphic.
“The university did mention they are pursing other schools than just us," he says. "They are doing an inventory across North America indicating more than one school is using the logo."
Kelowna Secondary has already started the lengthy proccess of eradicating the graphic.
“We've already pulled it off the website and are removing the evidence as much as we can,” Paul says, from its trace on anything from school letterhead to report card stock, uniforms and the gymnasium floor.
“There will definitely be some cost, just the gym floor itself will be a few thousand to sand the centre piece, paint the new logo on and refinish the floor,” he says.
The school will still keep an owl as their choice mascot. “There's no intention of changing the owl, it will just be a different owl logo,” he says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.