Oklahoma State suing NMSU over mascot likeness after 50 years of usage

OSU and NMSU versions of Pistol Pete
OSU and NMSU versions of Pistol Pete

Oklahoma State has issued a cease and desist letter to New Mexico State asking it to stop using its Pistol Pete mascot.

The two schools use a similar likeness of Pistol Pete, a character based on a real cowboy named Frank Eaton. Oklahoma refers to the likeness as Pistol Pete while New Mexico State refers to it as the Classic Aggie. However, New Mexico State doesn't use that particular logo anymore.

We have just learned that OSU has filed a lawsuit claiming it has exclusive rights to the character some call Pistol Pete and which we here at NMSU call Classic Aggie. The basic character has served as mascots for both schools — OSU and NMSU — for many decades. We were surprised that OSU took this step, but are in communication with its legal and academic representatives and are confident that good sense will prevail and that this court action will lead to an agreement that will allow both schools to carry on their respective uses of characters that are part of their academic and athletic traditions.

Oklahoma State said it was the first to have the mascot in the 1920s and then New Mexico State adopted a similar mascot in the 1960s. NMSU said it initially paid Oklahoma State royalties when it adopted the mascot.

Still, Oklahoma State would like the Sun Belt school to stop using it now 50 years later.

Oklahoma State University owns incontestable federal trademark registrations for its Pistol Pete marks. Based on Stillwater-area, real-life lawman Frank Eaton, the Pistol Pete mascot originated from Oklahoma State University in the 1920s and is well-known nationally. For more than 80 years, Oklahoma State has continuously used marks depicting Pistol Pete. The university is strongly opposed to any effort to infringe upon its trademarks and will take the necessary steps to protect its rights to the Pistol Pete marks.

According to legend, Eaton earned his nickname by showing off his shooting skills in Oklahoma and winning a legendary gunfight in Albuquerque.

For more Oklahoma State news, visit OStateIllustrated.com.

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