Texas Businessman Creates Branding Problem for Stanford

The university has worked for years to distance themselves from now-disgraced Robert Allen Stanford.

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What happens when you share a name with a disgraced Texas businessman who has been accused of running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme? First thing's first: You issue a press release, which is exactly what Stanford University did soon after news of Robert Allen Stanford's alleged wrongdoings broke.

To clarify, from the Stanford Daily:

  1. Stanford University has no formal ties to Robert Stanford.
  2. Over the past 10 years or so, the university has sued the businessman and his holdings several times over trademark infringement. They say he has used "willfully confusing imitations" of the Stanford University brand on his company website, on company apparel, advertisements in The New York Times, and sponsorships of various sporting events.
  3. Stanford (the man) has said he is related to Leland Stanford, the college's founder. The school and its archivists said it has not been able to find any familial ties.
  4. Stanford (the man) donated $2.5 million to the Leland Stanford Mansion Foundation and is a member of the organization's board, according to the foundation's website. The mansion is not affiliated directly with the university (only that they share the same namesake) and is actually a historic state park.