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USA Today Asks Atlanta School To Alter Its Newspaper Format

April 1, 1986

ATLANTA (AP) _ Marist High School’s award-winning newspaper, The Blue and Gold, has complied with a request by the Gannett Co. Inc. to stop copying the format of Gannett’s national newspaper, USA Today.

Last spring, Marist adopted the blue block and banner of USA Today. In January, Gannett sent a letter asking the school to stop copying its look.

The latest issue of The Blue and Gold restores the banner used previously.

Alice Lucan, assistant general counsel for Gannett, said the company had no choice in protecting the USA Today design. She said she receives one or two notices of infringement a week and Gannett is bound by law to protect its federally registered trademark or lose it.

″I feel like such an ogre, but we’re boxed into a corner,″ Ms. Lucan said. ″I hate to do it, especially with kids who are trying to learn and are doing good work.″

Paul Stockhammer, a spokesman for Marist, said the school realized it should not have used the design, which appeared in four issues. ″It’s better - and more creative for the students - if we develop our own design,″ he said.

The Blue and Gold won awards as the best overall high school newspaper in Georgia in 1984 and 1985.

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