Monday, September 3, 2018

Hawks and Eagles: Different or Not?

A recent (August 22, 2018) ruling about trademarks by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that hawks are not different from, indeed, that they are identical to, eagles.

The case, Alliance for Good Government v. Coalition for Better Government, was based on the issue that the logo used by Coalition looked very much like that used by Alliance, though Alliance had been using its logo longer.

This is what the complaint was about:

One of the arguments that Coalition made was that the birds were different: Coalition is represented by an eagle, while Alliance is "represented by a hawk, not an eagle."

The judges on the Fifth Circuit Court ruled: "We agree with the district court: the birds are identical."

Clearly, no one at Alliance was a herald, because any decent herald could have told them: If it's displayed, it's an eagle. If it's close, it's a hawk or falcon.

Anyway, it's not often that I run across a court case that bears a relationship, however tenuous, to heraldry. (They were, after all, ruling on a controversy over trademarks.)

If you have a desire to see more about this ruling and the Court's review of its background, the full ruling can be found on-line at

But here we have it, an unequivocal statement by an appeals court that (at least in the same posture) hawks and eagles "are identical."

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