“We at Campus Emporium are surprised by recent events surrounding the ‘Stick It In’ chant. The saying has been a part of Blacksburg culture and our store for many years. We never sought to limit use of the phrase as we felt it belonged to all Virginia Tech fans, and were content to share the market with other local stores. We will not comment on the actions of other businesses. Their actions speak for themselves, and the community is free to form their own opinions based on the information that is publically available to them.”
According to Bookholders, the sale of “Stick It In” apparel won't necessarily be exclusive to their store.
“Groups, organizations, clubs and/or businesses looking to sell any 'Stick It In' apparel and/or merchandise are urged to contact BookHolders," said its press release. "It is the goal of BookHolders that through the 'Stick It In' phrase, that these businesses or organizations will also want to donate their proceeds to the charity; as decided upon by the community, and help promote the Virginia Tech community’s spirit and pride.”
Bookholders has not made a final decision on how proceeds from "Stick It In" apparel will be used, but they are calling on students and the Blacksburg community to help decide. According to Verde, suggestions can be posted directly to the store's Twitter, Facebook or email.
Even if others do sell apparel with the phrase, Bookholders will still maintain exclusive rights to the slogan while they hold the trademark.
“If they have trademarked the phrase 'Stick It In,' then they have to continue to use it and another company cannot use it, or anything that might be confused with it,” said Wat Hopkins, a professor of communication law at Tech.
The chant, coined by Tech’s Marching Virginians for when Tech’s offense is within scoring range of the end zone, was banned from stadium usage in 2007. However, apparel featuring the phrase has prevailed in the years following its removal from the stadium.
Verde has speculated that funds raised by sales may return to the phrase's source.
“Someone said the proceeds should go to the band, which is actually a great idea,” said Verde. “Why not give money to them, they started it.”
Though the phrase did not originate from Bookholders, it was still able to trademark it since it hadn't already been done.
“There is no requirement that you come up with your own trademark,” Hopkins said. “The requirement is that no one else is using it as a trademark.”
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