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East Carolina U. Fights With Cisco Over Marketing Slogan

A North Carolina university and a major technology company are tangled up in a court battle over which one of them has the right to turn an existential statement into a dull marketing slogan.

According to Reuters, East Carolina University is suing Cisco Systems Inc. over the company’s use of what the university says is its registered trademark, “Tomorrow Starts Here,” a phrase that plays prominently in the company’s new marketing campaign.

Here is a video of one of Cisco’s new advertisements, courtesy of the company’s YouTube channel. The phrase in question caps off the 60-second commercial:

 

The university has an entire Web page devoted to the slogan, seen here:

Steven C. Ballard, the university’s chancellor, said in a written statement on the university’s Web site that the slogan was nothing new for his university. He noted that the institution had been using it “for over a decade,” including in major advertisements. The university’s lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and damages, according to the statement.

A company spokeswoman told Reuters that the lawsuit was a surprise, adding that Cisco was “confident” that its campaign “does not create any confusion in the marketplace.”

Cisco’s previous slogan, according to the news service, was the phrase “the human network”—one that even sounds as if it could be fit for a college, if Cisco hadn’t dreamed it up first.

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