Notre Dame sues Dordt over logo

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Silence Dogood – Staff Writer

The University of Notre Dame du Lac has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit over Dordt’s new logo.

The Dordt University logo, unveiled on Oct. 19 in preparation for the school’s move from a college to a university, bears a striking resemblance to the Notre Dame monogram.

According to Notre Dame’s website, the university’s monogram is not used as a logo, but generally as a “graphic element in conjunction with the Notre Dame academic mark.”

While the school has individual logos for its respective athletic and academic roles, the monogram is used heavily in reference to Notre Dame in part and as a whole.
According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright infringement can occur “when a copyrighted work is…made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.”

Notre Dame believes Dordt has crossed a line in the overlapping placement of the ‘D’ and ‘U’ and the over-flattening of the former.

Joe White, a Sioux Center local who attended Dordt’s logo reveal over Defender Days, said that he instantly thought Dordt’s logo seemed overly similar to Notre Dame’s monogram.

“They’re basically the same,” he complained, “Dordt’s just tweaked it a bit by adding a cross and different font.”

Dordt’s website breaks down the different components of the logo, tying significance to everything from the font to the graduation-stole ‘U’ with hands and arms as stylized ends. The cross at the center is “reflective of Dordt’s mission to stay committed to ‘Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.’”

The logo also ties together the previous two incarnations: the blocky, vaguely letter-shaped geometric design from the 70s married to the intertwining “DC” and golden cross that has been used since 1997.

“This is a very difficult situation,” said Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra in an interview, “We want to acknowledge our team for the hard work they put into this logo and assure the University of Notre Dame that we did not intend copyright infringement in any way.”

The lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing in February, three months before Dordt’s official change to Dordt University.

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