“Sentinels” trademark battle: Marquette Area Public Schools stands firm against legal challenge

After years of debate and discussion it seemed Marquette Area Public Schools had finally managed to adopt a new nickname, but one area woman has taken legal measures that may complicate the process.
School board members retired Marquette’s former Redmen and Redette monikers last summer after members of the public argued that those names promoted racial stereotypes with regard to Native Americans.
Criteria considered in the process of selecting a new nickname included whether the name pays tribute to the unique aspects of the school district and community and that it does not reference any protected class of persons.
After narrowing down a list of 24 potential names to replace the previous and more controversial ones, the Board at their Jan. 22, 2024, meeting announced the district would now be identified by the nickname “Sentinels.”
Within days of the announcement, Marquette resident Margaret Brumm, an attorney who is vying for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives filed trademark applications with the state and federal governments to claim ownership of the name.
The district announced in a press release today it will not be dissuaded by Brumm’s filings.
The press release reads, quote: “MAPS has spoken with multiple attorneys with expertise in trademark law regarding this matter. There is consensus that Ms. Brumm’s attempt to interfere with MAPS’ use of the Marquette Sentinels name has no merit. One of the law firms has volunteered to represent MAPS, at no cost to the district, to protect the district’s trademarks and to defend the school district, should Ms. Brumm improperly attempt to interfere with the district’s rights to the Marquette Sentinels name. MAPS will move forward confidently using the Marquette Sentinels name while encouraging our community to do the same.”
Brumm has not yet replied to ABC 10’s request for comment.
This report was prepared by ABC 10 News Reporters Jessica Potila and Selena Potila