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Edina school district looking for solutions following Hornet logo restriction

Block-style Edina E logoJune 23, 2021 - Edina Public Schools is exploring options for its Hornet logo image after receiving a cease and desist letter in March from Michael Otto, the creator of the current Hornet logo copyright. The copyright agreement, signed in 1981, gives Otto rights to determine how the image is used and which vendors the District may contract with for uniforms and spirit wear that include the Hornet logo. Since receiving the cease and desist letter, the District has attempted  to negotiate a more permissive agreement or obtain full rights to the copyright. So far, these attempts have been unsuccessful.

The current Hornet image was adopted by EPS in 1981, following a contest to create a Hornet logo to represent the recently united Edina East and West high schools. Otto, a former student, won the contest and registered the logo with the U.S. Copyright Office. Otto provided EHS rights to use the logo within the limitations noted above.

While the district works on a plan for how it may be able to continue to use the existing Hornet logo, the widely-known Edina block-style E will be used temporarily as the District’s logo image on any new apparel and uniforms. Attempts at securing a more permissive agreement have been met with such resistance by Otto, that the district is also working with a graphic design firm to create a new Hornet design. This new Hornet image may be used to replace the current logo, if necessary, or could be a secondary image for use on specific apparel given the limited use of the current logo.

If a newly designed Hornet image becomes a necessity, the community will be invited to participate in the selection of the new image. The Hornet mascot and school colors will remain unchanged.

“This is obviously not our first choice of direction, as we value our logo and the emotional ties to it. However, our community routinely asks for more access to the Edina Hornet image and we want to be able to use the logo freely within our district and provide access to those in the community that identify as proud Edina Hornets,” said Troy Stein, EHS athletic director. “The district has not been able to accommodate many requests for use of the Hornet image due to the trademark’s restrictive terms.”