In Alabama and across the United States, a company’s image is frequently linked to its name. Part of that requires that companies and entities be cognizant as to how their trademarked names and properties are protected from illegal use and infringement. When there is a belief that trademark infringement is taking place, it is imperative to have legal assistance from a business and commercial law firm that understands all aspects of business and protecting companies from this type of behavior. Those accused of these acts must have legal help, too, as evidenced by a recently filed lawsuit
That lawsuit was filed by the United Way, which asserts that a civil rights activist in Alabama has infringed on its trademark. The case was filed asserting that the activist had used a variation of the name for her work. The names are blatantly similar. United Way’s corporate location is in Virginia. It is a nonprofit that provides logistical assistance and support for charity and community work. The woman who is accused of infringement has founded several entities that help women in various capacities such as running for political office and in social justice campaigns. She has done this for more than three decades.
The United Way asserts there were three instances in which its trademark was infringed upon, that there was false representation, common law trademark infringement, and other violations. In the filing, the United Way says that the trademark is known worldwide for its work and the social activist sought to benefit from attaching her group to the name on social media. There was also a website, but it has been deactivated. The goal of the lawsuit is to prevent the use of the name to avoid confusion in the minds of the public and those who might donate. The social activist says that she is seeking to alter the name to avoid legal problems. She states that she has been prominent in pursuing those who commit sexual harassment and other illegal acts against women.
When business and commercial issues are discussed in the context of trademark infringement and other alleged violations, there might be an automatic assumption that it will be related to large for-profit companies. However, there are many ways in which trademark infringement can take place, including the misuse of names of charitable organizations by those who are seeking to give back to the community. Negotiation can often lead to settlement of these matters. If it cannot be handled amicably, though, then a legal filing will be required. When alleging infringement or defending against accusations that it has taken place, a law firm that helps clients with business and commercial matters may be of assistance.