Better "Ask [Harvard] What You Can Do" They are going to own the trademark

Harvard UniversityImage via Wikipedia

This from Odd News:

Harvard University's
moves to seek U.S. trademarks for everyday phrases such as “Ask what
you can do” are defensive measures, a school official says.

What else are they trademarking?  “Lessons Learned” and “Managing Yourself” said the Boston Globe in their August first, 2009 Article.  It also has a pending application for “The world’s thinking.”

The Boston Globe reports:

“Securing each trademark costs from $500 to $1,000 in the United States
and thousands more overseas, Calixto said. Legal disputes run up the
costs. Harvard pays for the effort with the more than $1 million in
royalties it earns each year from licensing its trademarks to such
entities as bookstores and mall kiosks selling Harvard apparel; about a
third of royalties go toward scholarships, he said.”

To me, it is interesting, but also disconcerting.  I have a cousin who was in a music program at a public university and the university had them sign an agreement that stated all music created was property of the university and could not be resold or reused in any way.  The problem was, she and some friends created a really cool song (that I have on my ipod — shhhh -don't tell) and it is stuck.  The University isn't going to do anything with it.

To me, colleges should be about the care and feeding of ideas –promotion of capitalism. But it seems that colleges and many educational organizations are becoming very much about making money — you know, it is OK to sell collegiate attire, but it sure seems that this trademark thing is going pretty far — who could keep up with it all?

What do you think?  Is it OK for Harvard (or other universities) to trademark such common phrases?  Do you feel differently if it was a public university spending all of these resources on trademarks of this type?

Oh, and if Veritas is sweating, Harvard knows that they are a software company and doesn't plan to pursue that one.  (Look at the shield above.)

Just not sure on his one in my own mind and looking for some of your thoughts!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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