STAFFORD, Va. (AP) — You could call it a cat fight, but Conway Elementary School’s cougar was no match for the Nittany Lion of Penn State.
The elementary school is working to change its logo after the Collegiate Licensing Co. pointed out the striking resemblance between its cougar logo and that of Penn State. The licensing company asked the school last month to stop using its logo on T-shirts, business cards and letterhead.
“They said sell what we have in stock and don’t order anything else with that logo,” Conway Principal Roxie Cooper said.
The Nittany Lion is not commonly pictured on Penn State merchandise, but it is a trademark of the school. While the lettering on the logos is different, the big cats appear the same except for the school colors — navy and gray for Penn State and red, tan and navy for Conway.
The Collegiate Licensing Co. allowed the school to keep a couple of floor mats with the logo that were purchased by the Student Council Association. The company also will not force the school to dig up a time capsule stamped with the now-restricted logo, Ms. Cooper said.
“They’ve been very agreeable to everything,” she said of the licensing officials.
But Conway isn’t alone, said company spokesman Derek Hughes.
“There’s a lot of universities across the nation that have to deal with this issue on a regular basis,” Mr. Hughes said, adding that the actions of schools like Conway aren’t intentional.
Mr. Hughes said schools are educated about the issue and the company works with “all parties on a fair phase-out plan.”
Culpeper County High School also is changing its Blue Devils logo after school officials learned in August that Arizona State University’s licensing department was investigating whether its logo was a knockoff of ASU’s Blue Devil. The only noticeable difference between the two is the color — while Arizona State’s devil is dressed in maroon, Culpeper’s wears blue.
A local resident volunteered to design a fierce cougar for Conway’s logo when the school opened two years ago, Ms. Cooper said, calling it an “innocent mistake on everybody’s part.”
“I think the gentleman honestly thought he was doing what was right, but unfortunately he was wrong,” Ms. Cooper said.
The school is working with a firm to come up with a more cartoonish cougar wearing a train conductor’s cap. The school, which is located near the Leeland train station, encourages its students to “stay on track.”