By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — A possible new logo for the state of Tennessee — bright red and white with a simplistic design — could cost taxpayers a lot of money and state employees a lot of time.
Apparently, no one in the office of Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam wants to talk about it, but a mundane, matter-of-fact item buried deep inside a federal website gives much away.
The information shows Tennessee officials want to trademark a new logo, which would probably be placed on state letterhead, signs along the side of the roadway and who knows what else.
One source told Tennessee Watchdog Haslam plans to officially unveil the new logo next month. The logo itself consists of nothing more than the state abbreviation, “TN,” in white font with a red background atop white and navy blue bars.
Haslam’s official spokesman, Dave Smith, did not return phone calls and email messages with specific questions Monday or Tuesday, including why the state needs a new official logo.
Currently, the state seal is Tennessee’s official insignia.
State officials applied for the trademark March 2, according to information on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
USPTO spokesman Ryan Honick confirmed Monday that Tennessee officials applied for the trademark, but he would not answer specific questions.
The USPTO website lists Nancy Hargiss-Tatlock as the attorney of record on the matter.
Tatlock, who otherwise serves as the general counsel to the state’s Department of Tourist Development, said Monday that people in Haslam’s office want the new trademark.
“I will leave the majority of the information to the governor’s spokesperson, but, in terms of the costs, there was a filing fee established by the USPTO, but no legal fees as I am an attorney working for the state,” Tatlock said in an email.
Officials with the state’s Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees the state budget, did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
UPDATE: After Tennessee Watchdog released this exclusive story, Smith reportedly told Nashville television affiliate WSMV that state officials paid the Nashville advertising and marketing company GS&F $46,000 to design the new logo.
Contact Christopher Butler at [email protected]
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