Lyons v. American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

In 1999, Lyons and Gillette discussed possibly forming a veterinary specialist organization (VSO) for treating athletic animals. For American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation, veterinarians must form an organizing committee and submit a letter of intent. Lyons, Gillette, and others formed a committee. By 2002, the committee began using the mark as the name of the intended VSO. Lyons participated in drafting the letter of intent, the accreditation petition, and bylaws and articles of incorporation. Lyons left the committee and sought registration of the mark for “veterinary education services namely conducting classes, seminars, clinical seminars, conferences, workshops and internships and externships in veterinary sports medicine and veterinary rehabilitation,” based on actual use, alleging first use in commerce in 1996. In 2006, the PTO registered the mark. In 2010, the VSO, “American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation” received provisional recognition; it petitioned to cancel Lyons’s registration on grounds of priority of use and likelihood of confusion, 15 U.S.C. 1052(d), misrepresentation of source, 15 U.S.C. 1064, and fraud. Meanwhile, the district court dismissed an infringement action by Lyons and ordered the PTO to reject Lyons’s application for Principal Register registration, but declined to cancel her Supplemental Register registration. The Board later concluded that Lyons was not the mark’s owner and that her underlying application was void. The Federal Circuit affirmed. In ownership disputes surrounding service marks as between a departing member and a remnant group, the factors are: the parties’ objective intentions or expectations; who the public associates with the mark; and to whom the public looks to stand behind the quality of goods or services offered under the mark. View "Lyons v. American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation" on Justia Law