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Dardenne v. MoveOn.org Civil Action

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-07-2014
Case #: 14-00150-SDD-SCR
United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
Full Text Opinion: http://front.moveon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Dardenne_v_MoveOn_OrderOpinion.pdf
LexisNxis Link: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47662
Westlaw Link: not yet available

Trademarks: Trademark Infringement: When a private group used a State's registered service mark to criticize the Governor of the State, the Court determined that the use of the mark would not confuse viewers as to the owner of the mark.

Opinion (Dick): Louisiana sought a preliminary injunction to prevent MoveOn.org from using a Louisiana registered service mark to criticize the Governor of the State. Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor’s office argued that MoveOn.org’s use of a Louisiana trademark on a billboard caused irreparable injury to the State. The service mark, “Louisiana: Pick Your Passion,” is registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State. MoveOn.org’s billboard criticized Louisiana’s Health Care policies and used the trademark on the billboard. For the State to establish a trademark infringement claim, the State must establish ownership of a legally protectable service mark and must show that the infringement created a likelihood of confusing the consumer or viewer. The Court held that the State did not demonstrate the likelihood that the billboard would confuse viewers about who owned the mark and who created the parody advertisement. There was no showing that the State suffered irreparable injury, and therefore the Motion for Preliminary Injunction was DENIED.