By Noah Syverson, Viking Fusion Assistant News Producer
A recent email sent out to the Berry Athletics department sought to clarify Vikings teams’ use of the phrase “Hook ‘em Vikes” and the accompanying hand gesture that is demonstrated in the image featured on the left.
Blake Childers, Director of Sports Information and Promotion, says that the unofficial use of “Hook ‘em” or “Hook ‘em Vikes” by students and athletes isn’t of concern. It’s when the image or phrase gets used commercially that legal issues could arise.
The email, provided by Childers, is cited below.
“Use of the phrase ‘Hook ‘em Horns’ and any use of the ‘Hook ‘em Hands’ symbol is most likely in violation of trademarks held by the University of Texas,” the email reads. “While Berry has no authority over that trademark, it’s important to note that no use of those two items should come from any Berry department, including Athletics.”
Due to ever-growing revenue streams that schools rake in because of the popularity and visibility of their sports teams, universities have become more and more protective of the licensing trademarks they own—with good financial reason.
The email sent out to the Berry Athletics department was in response to a vendor approaching the college for permission to sell apparel that featured the trademarked hand gesture and a variation of “Hook ‘em Vikes.”
According to Childers, no cease-and-desist letter or any other legal communications have come from the University of Texas over the Berry student body’s use of “Hook ‘em”–rather, the college merely wanted to clarify their policy in order to get out in front of any future licensing issue.