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A&M and the Association of Former Students to protect Aggie Ring trademark

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

The Association of Former Students and A&M reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the Aggie Ring trademark after counterfeit postings appeared online. 

After counterfeit Aggie Rings appeared online, the Association of Former Students and Texas A&M released a statement reaffirming a commitment to protecting the Ring’s trademark.
The Aug. 25 press release said the two organizations would protect the sanctity of the ring.
“Those who have earned the right to wear the Aggie Ring have cleared some of the toughest requirements in the country for a class ring,” the press release read. “As a mark of academic achievement backed by nearly 125 years of tradition, the Ring is one of the most treasured items an Aggie possesses.”
Association Vice President Scot Walker, Class of 1990, said posts advertising fake rings appear online a few times a year.
“In many cases, I believe the people posting these ads are not going to actually deliver a ring to anybody,” Walker said. “I believe that the scam is you send them your money, and you don’t get anything for it. When their site gets shut down, or their ad gets pulled from Amazon, they just move on and create a new one and steal the money from somebody else.”
Walker said in cases where someone has acquired an Aggie Ring, they inherited it, found it or stole it.
“In other cases, they’re claiming that they will make one and sell it to you,” Walker said. “And in those cases, I think it’s just 100 percent [a] scam. You send them money, and they disappear.”
Walker said advertising fake Aggie Rings is a clear-cut violation of the intellectual property associated with the ring, with there being no case where they’d authorize to make and sell a ring.
“The Aggie Ring is protected by three separate federal trademark registrations, so there’s no wiggle room for someone to claim that it’s not protected and that it’s in the public domain,” Walker said. “It is absolutely not in the public domain.”
Walker said trademark regulations don’t stop at actual rings — but also pictures of it.
“This applies whether it’s an actual ring, or if it is a product that has an image of a ring on it,” Walker said. “That is not licensed because you can’t use the image of the ring on your koozie or your T-shirt or anything like that unless you get a license to do so.”
Upon receiving a report of a violation, Walker said the Association contacts A&M’s licensing department, which contacts the seller with a notice.
“It’s a little more gray when it comes to someone selling an individual Aggie Ring,” Walker said. “Once you get it, you own it, and you can sell it to somebody if you want. That is not something that we can intervene on.”
A majority of the reports come from former students, Walker said. He said other reports come from Association staff or technology that monitors mention of the rings online.
“They don’t want to see people wearing the ring who didn’t earn the ring,” Walker said. “They don’t want to see cheap, unlicensed products out there that are devaluing the image of the Aggie Ring. So with an army of half a million friends and allies on our side, it’s pretty hard for someone to get a product on the market without us seeing or hearing about it.”
Mechanical engineering sophomore Adam Smykla said if people don’t meet the qualifications for a ring, they should not be able to buy one.
“It takes effort,” Smykla said. “It takes dedication.”
However, he said if a student completed the requirements and was looking for a cheaper option, he understood viewing it as an alternative.
Education freshman Hope Rasberry said she agreed and that she would buy the real ring, even if it was more expensive.
“I think [the ring symbolizes] just the tradition and the accomplishment of making it through college,” Rasberry said.
Allied health sophomore Ashlee Stuart said the biggest thing the Aggie Ring symbolized was networking and that she would order the ring when she qualifies.
“Once you see the Aggie Ring, you know that someone went to A&M,” Stuart said. “It’s an instant connection.”

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Gutteridge
Nicholas Gutteridge joined The Battalion in January 2023 as a news reporter before being promoted to news editor in August 2023. He interned at The Pentagon in Washington D.C. from January-May 2024 with the U.S. Air Force Office of Public Affairs before rejoining The Battalion. He specializes in investigative reporting and will be the managing editor for the 2024-25 academic year.
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