Oklahoma State announced today that they've filed a lawsuit against New Mexico State University over the use of the Pistol Pete logo.
Oklahoma State University owns incontestable federal trademark registrations for its Pistol Pete marks. Based on Stillwater-area, real-life lawman Frank Eaton, the Pistol Pete mascot originated from Oklahoma State University in the 1920s and is well-known nationally. For more than 80 years, Oklahoma State has continuously used marks depicting Pistol Pete. The university is strongly opposed to any effort to infringe upon its trademarks and will take the necessary steps to protect its rights to the Pistol Pete marks.
OSU used the below photo to illustrate how the logos are "confusingly similar".
Upon hearing of the lawsuit New Mexico State released a statement of their own.
We have just learned that OSU has filed a lawsuit claiming it has exclusive rights to the character some call Pistol Pete and which we here at NMSU call Classic Aggie. The basic character has served as mascots for both schools - OSU and NMSU - for many decades. We were surprised that OSU took this step, but are in communication with its legal and academic representatives and are confident that good sense will prevail and that this court action will lead to an agreement that will allow both schools to carry on their respective uses of characters that are part of their academic and athletic traditions.
It is interesting that tn the statement NMSU claims they call their mascot Classic Aggie, yet here's a New Mexico news report by KRQE New 13 over the ordeal where the mascot is continually referred to as Pistol Pete, including when the mascot is being introduced by the NMSU arena announcer.
Regardless of what they call the mascot, it doesn't appear that NMSU uses that particular logo anymore. Around 2005 the school adopted "Lasso Larry".
New Mexico State then updated the look once again after fans cried foul, "Who brings a lasso to a gun fight?". The school currently uses this updated logo commonly referred to as "Pistol Pete".
NMSU first started using Pistol Pete in the 1950's and initially paid royalties to Oklahoma State for the use. Oklahoma State first starting using Pistol Pete in the 1920's after changing the school's nickname from Tigers.
Around 1923, when Oklahoma A & M College was searching for a new mascot to replace their tiger (copied along with orange and black colors, from Princeton), a group of students saw Frank Eaton leading the Armistice Day Parade. He was approached to see if he would be interested in being the model for the new mascot, and he agreed. A likeness was drawn and began to be used on sweatshirts, stickers, etc. and a tradition was born.
What do you think Cowboys fans, should New Mexico State be forced to cease and desist the use of Pistol Pete?