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Use of name, logo in 'Big Love' angers University of Utah officials

By Michael R. McFall

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 8 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

"Big Love" is in big trouble with the University of Utah.

It was brought to the U. administration's attention that the HBO series "Big Love" aired an episode last March in which the school's name and block U logo were displayed on an allegedly official U. letterhead. In response, the U.'s agent, Collegiate Images, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the program's producers Tuesday demanding that shots including the logo be deleted from the episode and that HBO never use them in the future.

"This may have led some viewers to believe that the school is affiliated with 'Big Love,' " when it is not, said U. spokeswoman Coralie Alder. The U.'s name and logo were used without the university's knowledge or permission, she said.

"We will not tolerate a misuse of our trademarks, especially if it could lead the public to erroneously believe that the university is associated with a production over which the university has no control," said U. President Michael Young in a statement.

The letter to HBO confirms the U.'s position that the unauthorized use of its name and logo is trademark infringement, a violation of federal law.

HBO has until July 20 to respond to the letter, Alder said. She could not comment as to whether the U. would file a lawsuit if the request isn't honored.

HBO spokeswoman Tonya Owens did not immediately respond for comment.

— Michael R. McFall

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