UC steps up efforts to protect Bearcat trademark

Football success spawns unlicensed goods

CINCINNATI - Tia Garcia and her sister, Kristine Green, spent much of Friday morning trying to decide what University of Cincinnati sportswear to buy.

After all, they want to be part of the "Ring of Red" Saturday when surprising UC meets West Virginia at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I'm warming up for the winter here with some sweatpants and a sweatshirt," said UC student Tia Garcia.

UC's football team was 4-8 in 2010, but is currently 7-1 and leading the Big East Conference.

"It's nice to know that we're a good team again," Garcia said.

Uncertainty over how well the Bearcats would do translated to sluggish DuBois merchandise sales at the beginning of the season.

"Things were pretty quiet," said Manager J.D. DuBois. "People weren't sure what to expect."

What a difference a 7-1 record can make. Sales have jumped a great deal.

"We're selling a lot of red merchandise and we're having a lot of fun," said DuBois. "We're nationally ranked, heading toward the Big East Championship again and hopefully BCS bound."

T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets are big sellers for DuBois, but one of the more popular items has proven to be a knit hat with a bearcat likeness on it.

That will come in handy as temperatures drop as the days of fall come to a close.

The Bearcats' success has raised the team's profile, but also brought out people trying to cash in on the action, but without a license to do so.

UC is fighting back.

"We're watching our mark. We're protecting our brand," said UC Trademark & Licensing Director Marty Ludwig. "We're getting a little bit stronger in our enforcement."

That's why Ludwig is working with Cincinnati Police to keep an eye on what's being sold Saturday around Paul Brown Stadium.

"We'll have a couple of teams going out and patrolling the grounds to make sure that everything that's being sold is official licensed property," he said.

One businessman who won't have to worry about trademark trouble is Greg Gottenbusch, Owner of Servatii Bakery & Pastry Shop.

He's now an official licensee.

"We're Cincinnati's bakery and UC is Cincinnati's team," he said. "We want to root for them. Absolutely!"

Rooting for the Bearcats is what Cara Beattie, 6, and her brother, T.J., 3, plan to do on Saturday.

"Go Bearcats," they chanted Friday while hold giant red Styrofoam hands with the UC logo and index finger pointed into the air to signify number one.

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