Boise State Mounts a Paper Defense of Its Home Turf

As Boise State’s improving football team carried the university to national prominence, the renown of the turf grew as well. After the Broncos upset Oklahoma on a trick play to win the January 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State’s president, Robert Kustra, moved to capitalize on the attention.

“He said, ‘We have been thrust onto the national stage, and we cannot lose that momentum,’” Bickerton recalled.

Until then, licensing had been a footnote at Boise State. Kustra decided it warranted a full-time defense department, and he asked Bickerton to run it.

Her first priority was to register Boise State’s trademarks, including the one for the blue turf. To do that, the staff had to prove to the United States Patent and Trademark Office that when consumers thought “blue…

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