Leprechaun logo

by Don Wycliff

The University of Notre Dame issued the following statement about the Leprechaun logo discussion with Cathedral High School of Indianapolis:

The University of Notre Dame and Cathedral High School have been in communication about the school’s use of Notre Dame’s “Fighting Leprechaun” logo since at least the year 2000. They last communicated about it in December 2006, when the chairman of Cathedral’s school board wrote to our general counsel, stating that it was “Cathedral’s intention to phase out the use of the fighting leprechaun logo in favor of our Celtic cross logo.”

Cathedral is one of many Catholic high schools that, over the years, have adopted the nickname Fighting Irish and used the leprechaun logo. Notre Dame does not actively seek out such schools. But when a school’s use of our trademarked symbols comes to our attention, we do notify it and ask those in authority there to find another. As our general counsel, Carol Kaesebier, said in a letter to the Cathedral High School board chairman last September, “to allow others to use its trademarks as their own would dilute the University’s rights to its marks to the point where its proprietary claim could be at risk.”

In the case of Cathedral, as with many other schools, Notre Dame has suggested a number of alternatives, including that the school design a separate, distinctive leprechaun figure. The fact that the discussions between Notre Dame and Cathedral High have been going on since 2000 indicates that we have been generous in allowing the school to phase out the use of the University’s marks and adopt others.

It is not clear to us why the Cathedral case, in which the last communication was three months ago, has become news today. And the acrimony suggested by the Indianapolis Star article is not at all supported by the cordial tone in which this discussion has been conducted for the last seven years.

For more information please contact Don Wycliff at (574) 631-9006 or (574)286-1591.

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