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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Humor: Pokémon sues UC Davis after MU II sounds too much like popular character

LAURA LONG / AGGIE (left), LEE BURTON [(CC BY-NC 2.0)] / FLICKR (right)
Similarities with Mewtwo, MU II lead to legal battle between unlikely foes

After the completion of the Memorial Union’s renovations earlier this month, UC Davis has decided to rename the student center. The MU II, as it is now called, was retrofitted and received a bit of a makeover from the last time it was open nearly four years ago. While many students have taken exception to the pleather furniture and tables that are either too low or too high, but never just right, the real battle has come from an unexpected source.

The Pokémon Company took notice of the name MU II, which sounds a lot like one of the most respected characters in the series. Mewtwo, arguably the most strong and rare character in the game, draws a very similar audio sound to MU II. Because of this, The Pokémon Company is suing UC Davis for $5 million, claiming copyright infringement.

UC Davis officials clearly knew that this was a possible outcome. The school has recently profited off of shirts of Gunrock wearing Pokémon’s Mewtwo outfit that simply have “MU II” written across the chest.

“We thought it was a good marketing campaign,” said Ashley Cought Emall, the head of MU II’s development team. “This was the perfect inadvertent decision that we seem to have taken too far. When we named it MU II, I don’t think any of us recognized this. Once it was brought to our attention, it made sense to use it to our advantage.”

Students, on the other hand, have been delighted by the school’s play on words. Sales for Davis gear have been at an all-time high this year as a result of the men’s basketball team’s NCAA tournament run and now this recent marketing campaign.

“I don’t care that we are getting sued,” said third-year English major Fran Bluth. “These shirts are dope and this realistically won’t do anything to my tuition. Plus, the school gets sued all the time. Realistically, the only reason this is in the news is because it’s pretty hilarious.”

The school has not yet announced a plan to recover the money that it is being sued for, although an inside source told The California Aggie early last week that there will be a settlement out of court. There is no expectation for student fees to rise to cover the cost of the lawsuit given that this was a mistake from the administration.

While Pokémon and UC Davis sort out their issues, there has been an online competition to find a new name. Submissions will be taken through the end of the year, and a voting competition will run through summer. The plan is to have the class of 2021 be welcomed with a newly named Memorial Union their first week on campus in the Fall — perhaps simply “Memorial Union” will do.
Written by: Ethan Victor — ejvictor@ucdavis.edu

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