Oklahoma State is suing New Mexico State over use of a logo "confusingly similar" to OSU's famed Pistol Pete mascot, KRQE News 13 in Albuquerque reported Wednesday. OSU says it has used the logo since the 1920s and since trademarked it, as it depicts Stillwater-area lawman Frank Eaton.
NMSU initially paid royalties to OSU when it decided to also use the Pistol Pete logo in the 1950s. Oklahoma State has asked New Mexico State to "cease and desist from its infringement," though the logo hasn't been NMSU's primary one since 2005. At that point, the Aggies adopted "Lasso Larry" as part of a university re-branding effort.
After that decision was met with widespread disdain -- "Who brings a lasso to a gunfight?" was a popular refrain from students and alumni -- the university changed course and went to its current Pistol Pete logo that still bares various similarities to Oklahoma State's.
In a statement, New Mexico State said it is working with Oklahoma State to reach an amenable solution:
"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."
A legal logo battle isn't new territory for Oklahoma State, which fought with Wyoming over another Pistol Pete likeness in the late-'80s and early-'90s before deciding they could both share similar mascots. Interestingly enough back then, Wyoming applied for its Pistol Pete trademark in 1989 11 days before Oklahoma State, but the federal government first granted OSU's trademark.