ASLA Files Petition to Protect SITES Rights

The Dirt

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The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) yesterday filed a legal challenge to a claim of sole ownership of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) trademarks by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (WC) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The petition, filed in the District Court of Travis County, Texas, seeks declaratory rulings and a court order requiring that trademark filings by UT be withdrawn.

Although the partners—ASLA, WC, and the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG)—have worked together productively over the years, a dispute over SITES’ trademarks arose earlier this year. Despite joint development of the trademarks and the parties’ oft-stated joint ownership of all SITES intellectual property, UT took it upon itself to file applications for registration of the trademarks in the name of the University of Texas Board of Regents. This unilateral action was undertaken over the strenuous objection of ASLA. Upon being pressed for…

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