Penn Sues ‘Wharton Business Foundation’ for Marring Its Pristine Reputation for Greed

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Not a real Wharton grad. (He would be wearing a Vineyard Vines tie.) Photo: Jack Hollingsworth/Corbis

If you know anything about the business world, you know that the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is perhaps the premiere training ground for Wall Street proto-douches. It's the alma mater of people like art-collecting FBI target Steve Cohen, junk-bond jailbird Michael Milken, and convicted insider trader Raj Rajaratnam. And every year, it sends its graduates into the top investment banks and consulting firms in America.

So, naturally, the Powers That Be at Wharton were dismayed when a fly-by-night operation calling itself the "Wharton Business Foundation" set up shop. By trying to capitalize on Wharton's long-established reputation for vice and shadiness, the WBF was a clear and present danger to Penn's b-school supremacy. So the school sued.

The Daily Pennsylvanian brings us news of the Wharton v. Wharton clash:

On Wednesday, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania brought a lawsuit against the Wharton Business Foundation in the United States District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania for their use of the word “Wharton” in the title of their brands.

The University’s complaint alleged that this might create a “false impression in the minds of consumers that WBF is affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the University, particularly the Wharton School.”

It's a little odd that Penn thinks that the Wharton Business Foundation could be confused for its own business school, given that the former is some sort of bizarre marketing scheme (with a truly foul website) that touts itself as "The PowerSourcing & Internet Marketing Experts" and has a product called the "The Next Level System®," and the latter is an Ivy League business school where people in critter pants learn how to do hostile takeovers.

After a settlement in the Wharton case is reached, trademark-infringement lawyers should also check out another sketchy institution called the "University of Pennsylvania," which has for years been a four-year binge-drinking marathon masquerading as an elite educational institution.