Where did you get that De La Salle sweater? At the official school store, or one of the many unlicensed merchants selling swag online?
According to the school's president, Mark DeMarco, the unofficial use of the De La Salle brand means that the school is losing potential revenue.
"Financially speaking, we are always attentive and never comfortable," wrote DeMarco in De La Salle's Union Magazine. "We seek to keep tuition affordable, to improve our facilities, to build our endowment, and to answer our families’ needs for financial aid."
So in 2011, De La Salle filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a company called Prep Sportswear for selling "De La Salle" and "Spartans" sweaters and T-shirts in the De La Salle colors.
But De La Salle lost. Prep argued that the name of a religious figure — John Baptist de La Salle — could not be trademarked, and that the school's trademarks were invalid because there are other schools named after John Baptist de La Salle.
The one victory, said DeMarco in his article, is that "the company’s website no longer contains merchandise claiming to represent our school."
However, while the Prep site has indeed removed the "De La Salle-Concord" page, similar "De La Salle" merchandise with a Spartan logo is available on other school pages, such as St. John Baptist De La Salle School, which is a K-8 school in Grenada Hills. There are also other sites selling Spartan gear, such as MyLocker.com
The only official merchandise is sold by the De La Salle bookstore.
Do you think De La Salle should have exclusive rights to the De La Salle brand? Or should companies be able to sell their own De La Salle and Spartan gear, offering wider choice? Share your thoughts in the comments below.