New Texas coach Shaka Smart helped VCU build a nationally-recognized brand with the "Havoc" trademark in six seasons with the Rams.

BEVO BEAT

Texas abandons ‘Havoc’ trademark requests with federal government

Posted May 4th, 2015

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Richmond will indeed remain the home of “Havoc.”

Virginia Commonwealth officials were aghast last month when it was learned the UT System Board of Regents  filed federal trademark requests for use of the phrases “Horns Havoc” and “House of Havoc.”

VCU officials believe “Havoc” is closely identified with their men’s basketball team, previously led by coach Shaka Smart, who is now at Texas. “That helped us in recruiting, helped us with fans and it gave us an identity,” Smart told the American-Statesman in April.

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Now, those two trademark requests have been “abandoned,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Legally, VCU holds the “Havoc” trademark request on the state level, but not federal. A Richmond-based attorney told the Statesman in April that Texas would likely lose a court battle, if VCU chose to defend its mark. Courts have ruled that prior use is a determining factor in who holds the trademark.

“If you search Twitter for that in March, all you hear about is VCU basketball,” said Ben Pace, who works for a Richmond firm that does not represent VCU.

By abandoning the current request, Texas officials could still submit another request down the road. The school is still pursuing a trademark request for the phrase “Strong and Smart” for marketing purposes.

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