Virginia Tech has filed a lawsuit against a real estate firm in Blacksburg, Virginia, claiming the company practiced trademark infringement by using the name Hokie Real Estate, the Associated Press reports.
The university filed the lawsuit in Roanoke recently and claims that the real estate firm has violated its exclusive rights to the word Hokie, which is a term used as a nickname for its sports teams.
The owner of Hokie Real Estate, John Wilburn, is an alumnus of Virginia Tech, according to the news provider. A lawyer for Wilburn told the Roanoke Times that the university does not, however, have exclusive rights to the word Hokie.
A spokesman for the university, Larry Hincker, says the term originated at the university and that it does not have any meaning outside the campus.
"We clearly created that term. The term 'Hokie' has no meaning outside the Virginia Tech environment. It's clearly unique to us and any value was created by us," Hincker said.
Money is also a critical factor in the lawsuit, according to the AP. Virginia Tech has said that it earned $1.6 million from licensing fees and royalties from the nickname in 2009.