University statement regarding ‘NODAK’ use on hockey jerseys
The University of North Dakota is aware of the questions surrounding the word “NODAK” as used on its hockey jerseys and related apparel, and has been working diligently to ensure that NODAK LLC’s federal trademark registration did not conflict with, or call into question, the University’s existing rights in the NODAK mark. Those rights have been acquired by the University through the mark’s use over many years, and the mark has very much retained its association with the University in the minds of consumers.
The University and NODAK LLC have today entered into an agreement whereby the LLC has expressly acknowledged the University’s existing rights in the NODAK mark as the senior user, and formally transferred ownership of its registration to the University. This agreement involved no financial transaction between the University and the LLC and is believed to be in the best interests of all concerned.
The University is in the process of recording this transfer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and is now the legal owner of the registration. The University will continue its licensing activities regarding the NODAK mark, which are unaffected.
Despite speculation regarding the LLC’s involvement with any product selection or merchandising efforts by the University, it was in April 2020 – several months prior to the LLC’s trademark application having been filed and indeed, the very formation of the LLC itself – that the University received through its normal channels an artwork approval request from a licensed vendor for the “NODAK” jersey currently in use. At that time, the University engaged in a routine trademark clearance process, including a search of the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The University has never been asked or required to pay royalties for use of this mark by any party.
David Dodds, Director of Communications