Let’s say you own a pork-specializing barbecue restaurant in Little Rock and you want to connect with the locals in a commercial. Naturally, you’re going to incorporate “Woooooo Pig Sooie!” in there somewhere, because it’s a pretty prominent saying in those parts.
But thanks to a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you now have to pay the University of Arkansas for the right to use the hog call. As first reported by Forbes, the school has trademarked the sound included in the following cheer: “Woooooooo Pig Sooie! Woooooooo Pig Sooie! Woooooooo Pig Sooie! Razorbacks!” It is believed to be the first college cheer to earn trademark protection.
The registration simply protects the University from anyone seeking to exploit the mark commercially – such as a TV commercial, radio or internet – without a license or agreement from the University. Similar procedures are already in place for logos and word marks of the University of Arkansas. Those wishing to obtain a license for these logos, word or sound marks may apply through the University of Arkansas Collegiate Licensing program.
“We are proud that the Hog Call has become the first federally registered collegiate cheer in the nation,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “This registration speaks to the unique characteristics of the Hog Call and its connection with the University of Arkansas. These registrations are designed to protect the commercial integrity of a cheer that has been synonymous with the University of Arkansas since the late 1920s. To be very clear, these registrations do not apply and in no way prohibit all Razorbacks from Calling the Hogs as much as they can. Instead, they mark a proactive step to ensure the Hog Call cheer made famous by Razorback fans remains properly affiliated with the University of Arkansas and our great state. We encourage Razorback fans everywhere to Call the Hogs early and often!”
Such protection of a sound is somewhat rare, but the school points out other sounds that have received trademark protection, such as NBC’s chimes or the whistled “Sweet Georgia Brown” used by the Harlem Globetrotters.