University Trademarks and “Mixed Speech” on College Campuses: A Case Study of Gerlich v. Leath and Student Free Speech RightsNathan Converse*Article - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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University Trademarks and “Mixed Speech” on College Campuses: A Case Study of Gerlich v. Leath and Student Free Speech Rights
Nathan Converse*
Article

  The full text of this Note may be found here.

28 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media &Ent. L.J. 777 (2018).

Article by Nathan Converse

ABSTRACT

[H]

igher education has long been a fundamental building block upon which American democracy is based. The guarantee of free speech is itself a revered liberty in the American polity; it has, in turn, served as the catalyst for higher education. Recent events on college campuses continue to reexamine universities’ role in their students’ education and push the legal boundaries on student speech rights. In many instances, however, students’ speech and expressive viewpoint conflicts with that of other students. Other times, students’ speech conflicts with the expressive interests of their university. This Article examines the latter instance in the context of university trademarks. Gerlich v. Leath, a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, serves as a case study to elaborate on the complexities that arise when analyzing free speech rights in instances where students’ expressive interests often compete with, and sometimes conflict with, those of public colleges and universities.


*University of Iowa College of Law ( J.D., with distinction); Luther College (B.A. magna cum laude). Judicial law clerk for The Honorable John Telleen of the Iowa Business Court and Judges of the Seventh Judicial District of Iowa (2017–19).