Actually Helping Farmers, AHF for short, was originally created as a parody to Iowa’s famed “America Needs Farmers” initiative, and a way to point out the fact that while Iowa says America needs farmers, Iowa State is actually putting its money where its mouth is. We aren’t going to go into exactly what AHF is all about in this article, but if you aren’t familiar with our acronym, you can learn more about it here and here.
What we’re going to talk about here is what happened after the AHF slogan originally gained some traction and took off. Naturally, we came up with a t-shirt design for fans to wear to show their farmer pride (shown above in title picture). Word of the t-shirt found its way to Iowa City, where the University of Iowa didn’t think it was very funny.
On September 30th, 2013, we received an order to cease and desist use of the original AHF logo.
The University of Iowa provided this explanation:
The University of Iowa (“University”) is the proprietor of marks used here. The mark this letter is addressing is the University’s ANF mark and your derivative of this mark. Your AHF mark is clearly a derivative of the ANF mark that the University enjoys proprietary ownership over. In so doing, you have created an affiliation with the University, where none exists. This use creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source, affiliation, or sponsorship of your goods and/or services, constituting an infringement of our rights under both State and Federal trademark law.
Unauthorized use of The University of Iowa trademarks, word marks, and logos is a violation of state and federal trademark law. If you do not immediately cease the unlawful use of our logos, The University of Iowa may pursue this matter to the fullest extent of the law.
Former WRNL Managing Editor Kevin Fitzpatrick eloquently explained the situation:
“Yes, you read that correctly. The University of Iowa claimed that we had created an affiliation with the University. That’s hilarious, because that’s about the last damn thing we ever want to be known for on this site! And are you kidding me with this “likelihood of confusion” garbage? That’s clearly an H in the middle there, Iowa.
Plus, have you ever heard of this thing called parody? It’s protected under the 1st Amendment.
Though, I suppose I could see our shirt confusing the majority of Hawkeye fans..........
WRNL ended up deciding not to battle it in a court of law, even though we’re sure we could have won. It simply was too big of a headache for us to deal with, so we ended up ceasing production of the shirt that featured three letters in a gold circle.”
Since then, we’ve introduced a new logo.
Honestly, nobody here was surprised that University of Iowa was a bunch of fun-hating asshats without a firm grasp on free speech laws, we just didn’t think they’d be so ANAL about it.
Don’t forget to head over to Gameday Depot to get your AHF shirt!