Hey, Cisco — East Carolina University Wants Its Slogan Back

(This post was updated with Cisco’s response.)

Cisco started an advertising campaign last month using the slogan “Tomorrow Starts Here.” Take a look at a commercial from Cisco’s website.

It may sound like typical corporate jargon that doesn’t really mean anything, but East Carolina University isn’t too pleased.

The Greenville, North Carolina-based university is suing Cisco, seeking damages for the unauthorized use of the slogan, which ECU says it has federally registered.

“ECU has used the mark `Tomorrow Starts Here’ for over a decade, including in national advertisements and publications such as Forbes and Wired,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard in a statement.

ECU uses the slogan on its own website. The university claims Cisco’s use of the same phrase “infringes both ECU’s federally registered and common law trademark rights,” the statement said.

Cisco responded by saying it was surprised by the complaint.

“Cisco takes intellectual property rights very seriously, and we are confident that our new campaign does not create any confusion in the marketplace,” Karen Tillman, a spokeswoman for Cisco, wrote in an e-mailed statement.


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