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Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Karen J. Miller & Ronald C. Jessamy, Utility Affiliates: Why Restrict Use of Names and Logos?, 137 Pub. Util. Fortnightly 34 (1999).

Abstract: Even as states open the way for competitors in utilities, certain vocal constituencies would handicap utilities and their affiliates, denying them equal footing. New entrants seek to eliminate or constrain competitive advantages they would ascribe to utility affiliates. In fact, some state public utility commissions (PUC) have embraced this idea of competitive handicapping. They have adopted codes of conduct that purport to level the field by restricting affiliates in their marketing practices. Restrictions of the use of name and logo are one example. Such limitations violate First Amendment rights of free speech. At least one state PUC, the Illinois Commerce Commission, has recognized how affiliate restrictions can burden competition. Last month, the US Supreme Court ruled that a ban against private casino ads that did not apply to publicly owned casinos violated the First Amendment. Proponents of name and logo restrictions claim that affiliate use will confuse consumers. That issue, however, is not the relevant legal question.