The Wyoming Bucking Horse logo
New Wyoming quarter features the Wyoming bucking horse and rider. Photo courtesy State of Wyoming
Wyoming owns and defends the trademark of the Bucking Horse and Rider
by Governor Freudenthal’s office
August 22, 2007
Cheyenne) - Wyoming’s official logo of a bucking horse and rider is more than just a symbol - it’s a federally-registered trademark that the state vigorously defends.
Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp says Wyoming is the only state that owns a trademark on behalf of its citizens.
“It’s a mark that represents our state and has been registered as a copyright and even before trademark law came into being," Arp said. "It is a mark that is the emblem of Wyoming and trademark law requires us to protect that mark. And really, what could better represent Wyoming than the bucking horse and rider?”
In order to use Wyoming's bucking horse and rider in signage, companies need to sign a business use agreement. If an individual or company plans to make money from the use of the mark, they must obtain a product license.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the licensing of the bucking horse and rider is structured so that manufacturers do not incur any direct, out-of-pocket expenses to obtain and hold a license. But these manufacturers are required to collect and submit a royalty to the state, based on the products they sell.
In 1994, the state faced a major challenge to its trademark rights when a major jeans manufacturer based in Beverly Hills, Calif. tried to register the longtime Wyoming symbol. Had the registration been allowed to proceed unchallenged, the company would have obtained rights to the image. But the state and the University of Wyoming joined forces to fight the challenge and ultimately prevailed.
Early this year, the state defended its logo against a school district in Minnesota that had been using the symbol for its sports teams. The state reached a settlement with the district and has offered a phase out schedule for the use of the bucking horse and rider.
“That case got a lot of unusual press,” Arp said. “But we settled that case in the way we do with almost all schools, allowing a long-term phase out costing the school little or nothing.”
After the 1994 challenge, the state and university developed a cooperative licensing agreement that now fully protects the bucking horse and rider trademark from misuse and infringement. A program called “Wyoming Authentic, Wyoming Proud” was also developed by the state to protect against unauthorized use of the trademark.
Today there are more than 550 business use agreements and 174 in-state licenses for companies that use the symbol of the bucking horse and rider.
“My office takes it very seriously,” said Secretary of State Max Maxfield. “In order to keep our trademark, we have to protect it. I don’t intend to lose our rights to the bucking horse and rider on my watch. It’s Wyoming.”
The famous symbol will soon be showcased on the new Wyoming Quarter, to be launched in a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sept. 14 at the Cheyenne Civic Center, 510 W. 20th Street. The ceremony is free and open to the public and will be followed by another, shorter ceremony on the Capitol steps at 11:30 a.m.
For more about the quarter or the events in September, log on to www.artsparkshistory.com or call 307-777-7437.