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Waco to George's: City logo can't be used in restaurant mural

(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 10:40 PM CDT
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The City of Waco logo has been covered up on a mural painted on an outside wall of the George's restaurant on Speight Avenue.

The city sent the restaurant a cease and desist letter saying the logo was trademarked.

"George's loves being a part of Waco," said Chris Cady, General Manager at George's Restaurant. "Obviously we didn't know about the trademark, but we're gonna do whatever needs to be done and put something great up there."

Spokesman Larry Holze says the "Flying W" has been the City of Waco's logo since 1995 and has been trademarked through the State of Texas since 1992.

"The owner's are the citizens of Waco, they own the Flying W," said Holze. "It is the identifier for anything the City of Waco does."

Holze explains why the city can't allow businesses to use the logo.

"We can't let it be on a building, especially a commercial building, that might infer that we own part of, in this instance George's, or that we endorse George's over another place," said Holze.

"What if this logo ended up on some type of business or operation that citizens would be totally objectionable to--either politically for or against--we can't get into that, we have that ownership and control what the City of Waco government is doing."

George's isn't alone in being asked to remove the logo: the mural at Ambold's Key & Lock on Franklin Ave. had to cover up a small Flying W painted over the Suspension Bridge.

"We've had numerous occasions where people have had to take off the Flying W from their business, change the sign at considerable expense, and they've all done it, so it's not right to pick one over another," said Holze.

From nail salons to non-profits, Holze says there's been all kinds of companies and organizations who they've had to deny use of the symbol to.

"With the success of Waco and the great things happening, people have grown to see that (the logo) as a meaning of geographical Waco, not the corporate city, and that's the difference, we have to maintain that," said Holze.

They have to be fair and can't play favorites, he says.

"We appreciate the excitement everyone has on loving the Waco logo, but it has to stand for the city government, and that's what it is," said Holze.

However, Holze says there is on exception they consider on a case-by-case basis: T-shirts.

"We don't allow ball caps because city employees wear them, we try to keep it as simple as we can," said Holze. "But we'll allow it on a T-shirt as long as it's not on one that has any corporate or brand name and doesn't say anything anti-Waco."

The mural, which was recently voted the Best in Waco through a newspaper poll, was created by a group of Baylor students back in May.

It features famous Georges including country music legend George Strait, boxer George Foreman, comedian George Lopez and former Presidents George Washington, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

"The whole purpose of the mural is to be a landmark in Waco and draw people to Waco because of the culture and the arts and the restaurants," said Britain Seago, a Baylor journalism student who designed the mural and helped paint it. "It wasn't the full mural, it was just a part of it, and I think that that lends itself to artistic liberty and incorporates it into a larger vision than just taking that (the logo), and that being a hand-drawn logo and not just a traced version of the normal one, and it's in a different color."

Seago, who is in Dallas for the summer for a graphic design internship, told KWTX she was shocked when she heard the city wanted the logo removed.

"With the mural design, it was a part of a class project where 30 students had the ability to draw a mural and be selected, and the professor, Carol Perry, had designed the W for Waco long ago," said Seago. "So for Waco to now come back and say that it can't be a part of the mural kind of caught me off guard since the very teacher who inspired and really aided me in my design and creativity was the one who designed the W."

KWTX obtained copies of the city's current, and original registration to trademark the logo through the Texas Secretary of State's Office.

The trademark is good through 2022, Holze said.

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