Tutor company’s blue logo has volunteer group seeing red

In News /

By Brad Whitehouse
Associate News Editor

A volunteer student tutor group is angry and disheartened after a private company with an almost identical name and logo moved onto campus this fall.

“They have changed their logo and colour scheme to look exactly like ours,” said Fareena Khan, a fourth-year business student and president of Ryerson SOS, a volunteer-based student tutor group.

SOS, short for Students Offering Support, is a national not-for-profit organization that offers tutoring services as a fundraiser to send students to build schools in Latin America. A Ryerson chapter started up last year but a private company named SOS Tutoring Inc., expanded from Montreal to Toronto this September, and both tutor service’s logos are deep blue with the SOS moniker and an open book.

Greg Overholt, executive director and founder of SOS, said there are too many similarities for it to be a coincidence.

“They’re trying to mimic and steal our brand,” he said. “They’re trying to copy our brand to profit off of it.”

But Dan Chetrit, CEO of SOS Tutoring Inc., doesn’t see the comparison between the two logos.

“Ours is actually completely the opposite. Our name is inside of a book and the book shapes the other way. And we don’t have a globe,” he said.

According to the company, SOS Tutoring Inc. has operated for five years. They previously used a very different logo, but the company did a full trademark change this summer before setting up new outlets at Ryerson, the University of Toronto and York University this fall.

“I have to assume it was because they were moving into the area,” said Overholt.

Overholt said the conflict is mainly at Ryerson, where it seems that SOS Tutoring Inc. is focusing its marketing. Right now, Ryerson SOS is trying to figure out how they will continue.

“It’s very disheartening to our volunteers,” he said.

SOS hasn’t had any communication with SOS Tutoring Inc and hasn’t taken any legal action against the company.

At SOS Tutoring Inc., Chetrit said his lawyers are confident that there is no case of infringement.

“If it were litigated, we’ve got complete rights to the name and to the brand and to the logo.”

Comments

  1. Sooo … there are two companies doing essentially the same thing but one is for charity and the other one is for profit?

    Why would anyone choose the for-profit organization over Students Offering Support which is run by volunteers and giving their money to a good cause?

    Haha AND SOS Tutoring Inc costs like three times as much as Students Offering Support!

    Dumb.

  2. Wow, the logos are similar enough for a person with a reasonable amount of intelligence to notice…!

    But if you go to the Students Offering Support website you can see that the volunteer SOS has been around since 2005. Last year, the volunteers from 15 chapters raised over $200,000 that went towards 10 outreach trips in Latin America. They are sponsored by key employers such as KPMG, Manulife and Agfa Health.

    I think the lack of a globe in the in the new ‘SOS Tutoring’ logo is the only key difference, and students should know where their money is going.

  3. All i can say is that i have been to one of the course offered by Student Offering Support and it was bad. To be honest, i went because of the cause, which i think is good but it should improve its product. Maybe SOS Tutoring can offer a better product, given they do this for a living, not as an extra curricular activity…

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