The phrase “Tomorrow Starts Here” is the basis of a trademark lawsuit brought by East Carolina University (ECU) against networking equipment provider, Cisco. The Greenville, NC-based university registered the trademark in April 2011 in International Class 41 (education services) and claims it first used the mark in 2002.
Cisco’s trademark registrations for “Tomorrow Starts Here” were filed in December 2012, the same month its “Tomorrow Starts Here” brand campaign debuted. The three registrations cover International Classes 42 (computer hardware and software), 38 (telecommunications services), and 9 (computer hardware and software).
An ECU press release announcing the lawsuit references an overlap of goods and services with Cisco, including “research initiatives through ECU’s College of Technology and Computer Science” that are “actively being commercialized.”
In response, a Cisco spokesperson told website AllThingsD.com: “We were surprised to learn that East Carolina University filed a complaint this morning. Cisco takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and we are confident that our new campaign does not create any confusion in the marketplace.”
Here’s the homepage banner for ECU’s website, which includes the phrase “Tomorrow Starts Here”:
Take a look at one of Cisco’s “Tomorrow Starts Here” campaign videos:
Do you see a likelihood of confusion?