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UPDATE: UND acquiring trademark for use of word 'NODAK' for hockey jerseys, apparel

The agreement involved no financial transaction between UND and the LLC and “is believed to be in the best interests of all concerned,” the release said.

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UND's newest home alternate jerseys are on sale at the Sioux Shop in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Brad Elliott Schlossman / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — UND announced late Thursday evening that the federal trademark registration for the word “NODAK” is being transferred to the university after a day of speculation regarding its use on its hockey jerseys and related apparel.

In a statement to the press shortly before 8 p.m., UND spokesman David Dodds said the university has been “working diligently to ensure that NODAK LLC’s federal trademark registration did not conflict with, or call into question, the university’s existing rights in the NODAK mark.” Dodds said the rights have been acquired by UND through the mark’s use over many years, adding the “mark has very much retained its association with the University in the minds of consumers.”

The agreement involved no financial transaction between UND and the LLC and “is believed to be in the best interests of all concerned,” the release said.

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UND is now in the process of recording the transfer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and is now the legal owner of the registration, the release noted. UND said it will continue its licensing activities regarding the NODAK mark, which are unaffected.

“The University has never been asked or required to pay royalties for use of this mark by any party,” the school said.

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Earlier Thursday, Forum Communications columnist Rob Port reported that NODAK LLC had previously registered for a trademark for the word “NODAK.” The trademark was originally registered by Brianna Berry — daughter of UND hockey coach Brad Berry, who was also listed as the registered agent of NODAK LLC.

UND hockey first unveiled jerseys with the words ‘NODAK’ across the front during a game in November 2021, and has used them on an occasional basis since, most notably at the 2022 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game in Las Vegas, when the Fighting Hawks took on the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Despite speculation about the LLC’s with any product selection or merchandising efforts, UND said it first received in April 2020 an artwork approval request from a licensed vendor for the current “NODAK” jerseys. This was several months prior to the LLC’s trademark application having been filed and before the formation of the LLC itself.

“At that time, the University engaged in a routine trademark clearance process, including a search of the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” the release said.

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