Trademark fight awaits new UND nickname selection

The former mayor of Bismarck, N.D., has thrown a wrench into plans to come up with a new nickname for the University of North Dakota.

The finalists for the new nickname weren’t much of a secret; the process of winnowing down the suggestions was fairly public, perhaps too public. Harlan “Hawk” Haakenson raced to trademark several of them, the Bismarck Tribune says.

Haakenson says he registered the names because he likes the Fighting Sioux nickname. So he registered “Nodaks” and “North Stars” and “Fighting Hawks” with the North Dakota Secretary of State in order to prevent UND from using them.

He tried to register another strong contender — Roughriders — but someone already holds that trademark. Sundogs is also trademarked by someone else in the state, the paper says.

Those are all five of the names still under consideration.

But a UND official says the action won’t stop the process because Haakenson registered the names as a real estate trademark and the university isn’t planning real estate ventures.

Roughriders, for example, is already held by a motorcycle club, an apothecary and a welding company.

Haakenson is undeterred in his allegiance to the Fighting Sioux.

“I will predict that sometime in the future, maybe long after I’m dead and gone, the name will come back,” he said.