Whoops: Cisco Sued by Customer over Slogan

Tomorrow Starts Here is a pretty catchy slogan – so catchy that it’s the reason Cisco is being sued by its customer East Carolina University. In 2003 ECU was so happy with Cisco they allowed the networking leader to use them as a case study for their Aironet Wireless 1400 Series Wireless Bridge (PDF). But things took a turn for the worse when Cisco decided to brand itself with a new slogan “Tomorrow Starts Here.”

According to Reuters: The U.S. university said on Friday that it is seeking damages for unauthorized use of the trademark, which it said is “a university-wide brand that represents an overlapping field of goods and services when compared with that of Cisco”.

Cisco for its part says it is surprised by the lawsuit which to some degree makes sense as it isn’t common for a university to sue a network equipment maker for a trademark. After all, these organizations aren’t competitive. Still, if you are trying to brand yourself, you don’t want another company using your slogan if at all possible. Especially not a company with deep enough pockets to make it seem like you are ripping off their intellectual property.

The court case will likely settle with Cisco offering a mix of cash and equipment and/or services. It’s worth noting if you Google Tomorrow Starts Here –cisco there is no question this is a slogan widely used by ECU as the video below proves. The “-cisco” removes results related to Cisco which are now overshadowing the ECU links which were once dominant.

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