Edina Schools to drop current hornet logo after lawsuit

The superintendent of Edina Public Schools says they will stop using ​its current 40-year-old hornet logo after a lawsuit was filed against the district. 

Michael Otto, the logo’s creator, and Edina High School alum, filed the lawsuit on Monday in U.S. District Court, alleging the school violated his copyright. He sent the district a cease-and-desist letter last spring. 

Otto’s design was the winner of a contest in 1981 that the school district put on when Edina East and Edina West merged.

logo edina

Michael Otto created the Edina Hornet logo in 1981, but now he's filing a cease-and-desist letter to the school district. (Michael Otto)

Otto later registered the logo with the U.S. Copyright Office. For decades, he has permitted the school to use the logo with some limitations, until he claims EPS didn’t get permission from him before allowing a company to sell merchandise with the hornet logo on it.

"It’s not having control for control sake. It’s making sure that the logo isn’t misused or disrespected," Otto told Fox 9 in a June 2021 interview. "When I drew it, I wanted something that not only I was going to be proud of, but that would stand the test of time."  

In a letter to families and employees Thursday, superintendent Dr. Stacie Stanley said Edina Public Schools will begin the process of removing the hornet image from clocks, walls, gym floors and Kuhlman Stadium field. After receiving the cease-and-desist letter, they had removed the Hornet image from their websites and stopped ordering new athletic uniforms and spirit wear with the logo.

"Throughout the fall, we continued to attempt to negotiate with Mr. Otto, in an effort to buy the copyright or enter into a licensing agreement to retain the logo. We believe we’ve made good faith offers, and have not been able to reach an agreement. Despite our efforts, earlier this week, Mr. Otto filed a lawsuit against the district for its use of the logo," the letter reads. 

Superintendent Stanley says the cost of removing the logo entirely could be substantial. Plans to develop a new Hornet image will be announced in the future.