Illegal Tees

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

Wear patched-up clothes and you’ll fit right in on this Hobo Week. But sell the unauthorized Hobo-branded gear, and you could get in trouble with SDSU.

It could be trademark infringement and that’s illegal, said Wes Tschetter, the university’s assistant vice president for finance and business.

He said the university has yet to go to court against trademark thieves, because groups using the trademark illegally have stopped without a fight. But Tschetter said SDSU has every right to issue a “cease and desist” order.

Even something like “Hobo Daze” is crossing the line. If anyone has the trademarked phrase printed at a business, then “that business has the responsibility to pay the royalty fee — even if is just a small number or amount,” Tschetter said.

SDSU will probably not take action against students who print 20 shirts to sell to their friends. But “if they print hundreds of them to replicate the design and look of existing products that manufacturers already pay a fee for use of SDSU trademarked design, then we could issue a cease and desist order,” he said.

Hobo Day branded t-shirts are everywhere during the university’s annual homecoming. This year, the designs on campus range from the traditional “Hobo Day 2006” to “Where my Hobo’s at?,” “Plowed” and, just like last year, “Hobo Daze.” And not all of them are family-friendly.

The term “Hobo Day” is trademarked by SDSU, said Jenny Crickard of University Relations. “In order to use it on t-shirts or other items, they should be purchased through a licensed vendor,” she said.

SDSU’s Advertising Club did its homework before printing their annual batch of Hobo Day t-shirts.

Both Weary Wil and Dirty Lil are also trademarked by the University. This means that the University Programming Council’s official t-shirts have the rights to have “Hobo Day” and use Weary Wil and Dirty Lil, but campus organizations like Advertising Club can’t use those terms without permission.

“We had to have it (the design) approved by the Hobo Day Committee,” said Krista Noren, the president of Advertising Club. The club’s shirts have “Plowed” on the front, but do not say “Hobo Day.” The shirts do include the Hobo Day theme “Hobos on the Prairie.”

The club has sold Hobo Day t-shirts as a fundraiser for several years.

Advertising Club’s shirts have “really caught on to be the most popular shirt sales, due mainly to last year,” said Kyle Sydow, a senior advertising major and member of the club. Last year the organization sold more than 600 shirts with the slogan “Rub me for luck.”

“We’ve been increasing every year, along with our sponsors,” said Sydow.

This year’s sales have been good so far. “One guy bought 20 at a time. Shirts have been pretty popular,” Sydow said.

This year, they ordered 850 shirts printed at Sports Connection. Jaime Hill, senior graphic design and education major, designed the shirts both last year and this year.

Other t-shirts are available to show your Jackrabbit pride this fall. Caldwell Hall government is selling t-shirts with “Where my Hobos at?” for $10.

Originally, the shirts were intended for residents of 2 East Caldwell Hall, said Adam Dupic, a resident assistant in Caldwell.

The hall government ordered extra shirts, and any student can still buy a shirt at the Caldwell Hall front desk starting Wednesday, Oct. 25.

“We started a sign-up a couple weeks ago. About ninety people ordered shirts,” said Dupic, a junior sociology major.

“We submitted the idea to Prairie Graphics and they came up with the finished product,” he said.

“I can’t stress enough these aren’t official Hobo Day t-shirts,” Dupic said. “They’re a shirt you can buy for your mom. It’s a respectable thing. You could wear (it) for a family get-together.”

Less family-friendly shirts like “Hobo Daze” were sold by SDSU students on campus this fall as well.

University Program Council sells the only official Hobo Day t-shirts. For $10, students can buy the “Hobo Day 2006” shirts, complete with Hobo Day characters Weary Wil, Dirty Lil and Spot the dog.

Profits from Hobo Day merchandise will help UPC promote Hobo Day next year.

“It goes to fund Hobo Day events, promotions, to buy more shirts and buttons,” said Sarah French, Grand Pooba of Hobo Day. The proceeds from shirt sales last year paid for this year’s Hobo Day shirts, she said.

Jim Taggart, a graphic designer at University Relations, worked on UPC’s t-shirt design.

Where to buy a shirt

The Union

UPC is selling t-shirts at the UPC office in The Union and at tables in the Union from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Hobo Day.$1 buttons and free bumper stickers are also available.Ad Club will have a table in The Union from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and shirts will be on sale at Cubby’s from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The last day to buy a t-shirt is Friday, Oct. 27, in The Union. Both accept cash, checks and Hobo Dough.


Any student can still buy a shirt at the Caldwell Hall front desk starting Wednesday, Oct. 25.

#1.884145:2363560284.jpg:Ad Club.jpg:Emily Rooney, a junior advertising major, and Mackenzie Osadchuk, a junior interior design major, members of the Ad Club, sell a “PLOWED” t-shirt to senior Mike Miller, a broadcast major.: