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Regent University sues over GRU name

Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 10:52 AM
Last updated Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 3:41 AM
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Regent University in Virginia is suing the University System of Georgia and individual members of its Board of Regents who voted to name the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities Georgia Regents University.

Regent, which has had a trademark on its name since at least 1990, said the action constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Augusta, seeks to bar the Georgia system from using the Georgia Regents name and seeks damages for harm it says Regent University has already sustained, any profits the Georgia system might have made off the name, attorneys fees and other relief.

On learning on Aug. 3 that the Georgia board was considering the Georgia Regents name, the Virginia university sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Georgia board informing it of the Regent trademark and asking that it pick another name. The Georgia board went with the Regents name despite having “received a copy of a nationwide survey showing that the name University of Augusta was widely preferred,” the lawsuit says. “Instead of honoring the historic and rich tradition of the Augusta community, Defendants decided on the name Georgia Regents University without regard to Regent’s well-known trademark rights.”

The lawsuit contends the Georgia Regents name “is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception and will injure and damage Regent and the goodwill and reputation” of Regent’s trademark. In fact, it “has already caused irreparable injury and will continue to cause irreparable injury to Regent” if allowed to continue, the lawsuit said. The suit also includes allegations of unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.

Immediately after the Aug. 7 vote, a Georgia university system official said its legal counsel had looked at the issue and considered Regents a “general enough term” that its use would not violate trademarks.

The lawsuit also said Regent has already been denied “just compensation” from the Georgia board for the use of the trademarked name.

Georgia university system spokesman John Millsaps said that its legal counsel is aware the lawsuit has been filed but that the university system apparently has not been served notice yet. The university system doesn’t comment on lawsuits afte they are filed, he said.

Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this.

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Fiat_Lux
15429
Points
Fiat_Lux 09/21/12 - 11:01 am
6
0
So DO IT ALREADY!

What's the hold up? These bozos aren't budging unless some significant heat is applied to their seats.

So get a move on. You'll have tons of support.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 11:03 am
2
3
Premature

Instead of running this story, it would be more professional to run the story after the papers are filed with the court.

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 09/21/12 - 11:33 am
0
1
Regent (no "s") will lose and
Unpublished

Regent (no "s") will lose and they know it. Hence the delay. They've made the threat and therefore feel compelled to carry through with it but they're delaying as long as possible in the hope that they won't have to.

slickrayder
33
Points
slickrayder 09/21/12 - 11:34 am
9
0
PLEASE SUE........WE ARE

PLEASE SUE........WE ARE BEHIND U. WE DONT WANT THE NAME .THIS IS AUGUSTA

Bizkit
31505
Points
Bizkit 09/21/12 - 11:51 am
5
1
Hopefully they will sue GRU

Hopefully they will sue GRU for 500 million or more and win. The liability of such a loss may teach these morons to finally face the lack of prudent judgment-i.e. the stupity of their actions. Further the rationale of the union to save money will finally be exposed as the farce it really is.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 09/21/12 - 11:55 am
10
1
Sad to say

just wrote Regents in VA and asked where to send lawsuit fund donations. Will post address or link, if allowed, later.

This could all have been avoided if President Azziz really had the best interests of MCG and Augusta College in mind. But now it seems his pride and stubbornness are just another 2 check marks in a growing list of why it might be time to let him move on to another college.

He has truly buried himself and it must be evident it is seriously impacting his ability to administer or attend to his duties.

2350LEGAL
5
Points
2350LEGAL 09/21/12 - 03:32 pm
3
2
GRU

Why use tax payer money to fight this futile battle. If Azziz were responsable for the legal fees, we would have the word Augusta in the name. You're talking 100's of thousands to stroke his ego, when it makes perfect sense to rename the University a name we can all be proud to hear. Such as, ASHSU (AUGUSTA STATE HEALTH SCIENCE UNIVERSITY)

hockeymann
226
Points
hockeymann 09/21/12 - 03:54 pm
7
0
GRU Lawsuit

Bring it on.. Try to include Azziz in the suit, so he can pay some of it before
he leaves town, which we hope will be soon.

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 09/21/12 - 04:37 pm
0
0
What's the deal here?? The
Unpublished

What's the deal here?? The lawsuit says..."The Georgia board went with Regents despite having received a copy of a nationwide survey showing that the name University of Augusta was widely preferred".

The issue of an alternative name to GRU is entirely irrelevant to this lawsuit. So the Regents ignored a survey about the name ASU. Big deal. That's relevant to trademark infringement how exactly?

It then goes on to say..."“instead of honoring the historic and rich tradition of the Augusta community......" Again, utterly irrelevant to trademark infringement. The manner in which GRU was chosen and possible alternatives to it, matters not a whit in this case. All that matters is whether "Georgia Regents" infringes the name Regent (no "s").

They're flailing.

Dixieman
14972
Points
Dixieman 09/21/12 - 04:38 pm
6
0
Huh?

It WAS filed with the court according to the story. Now we will see what the Regents' written response is. Hope the plaintiff wins and that the attorneys fees for the defendants are NOT paid by taxpayer funds.

validPoint
982
Points
validPoint 09/21/12 - 04:49 pm
6
0
GRU Lawsuit

It seems that originality has lost its grip...what are the students thinking? They have been taught to be creative and original...in the classroom "copying" is seen as "cheating", and there are consequences for this type thing. LET THE CONSEQUENCES BEGIN.

Conservative Man
5564
Points
Conservative Man 09/21/12 - 07:11 pm
5
0
As I've said...

....these clowns, (sorry)....Regents,... will NOT entertain ANY suggestion put forth by us, the "great unwashed".Their arrogance is palpable.

But maybe a lawsuit will make them reconsider.......let the litigation begin....

dichotomy
33017
Points
dichotomy 09/21/12 - 07:56 pm
3
0
Must be something about

Must be something about Augusta that attracts politicians and bureaucrats that do stupid crap to waste taxpayers' money defending lawsuits for their idiotic decisions. Azziz should get along very well with our commission. He should probably start using our Procurment and Human Resources people for GRU. They are all very good at getting us sued too. How much did our Inspections folks cost us today to settle the trailer fire lawsuit? Something like $1.5 million plus legal fees? We could have bought Paul & associates another elevated crosswalk with that money. Well, at least the rest of the state will help pay for the Azziz lawsuit. Our local yokels take it all out of us "city" taxpayers' pockets.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/21/12 - 08:02 pm
1
3
Man, if you're harming the

Man, if you're harming the name of Pat Robertson U., you know you've stunk the joint up.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 08:07 pm
2
1
On the other hand

Conversely, Techfan, why would Azziz want the university he is president of, have any connection, even coincidentally, with Pat Robertson. Boo on Grooo.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 08:33 pm
4
0
Assured Humbleness

A person who is confident in himself, who humbles himself before the Lord and at the same time both leads and serves his fellow man, would not name a state university after himself and his cronies. But these "regents" are not humble men and women. They are vain, egotistical, arrogant, and insecure deep in their hearts. The name they chose is antithetical to the values the university should be instilling in its students. Regents has got to go.

Bizkit
31505
Points
Bizkit 09/21/12 - 09:07 pm
2
1
Afther this they should just

Afther this they should just name it "The School of Hard Knocks". hee,hee,hee. I know something hip and cool like:"The University" or The School, perhaps just "The School" because University Hospital would likely sue them. :( hee,hee,ee. Azziz ought to love that. Maybe "The Academy of Liberal Arts and Health Sciences" just go ahead and fall off a cliff. Maybe the School with No Name-sounds like Monty Python.

harley_52
23424
Points
harley_52 09/21/12 - 09:52 pm
5
0
Whatever This Costs...

...the taxpayers of Georgia, there should be a class action lawsuit filed against Azziz and each of the Regents who voted for the Georgia Regents University name in spite overwhelming public opinion against the name and their personal knowledge of the cease and desist order from Regents.

It's another shameless example of public employees playing fast and loose with millions of $$$ of taxpayer money because they believe they can do it with impunity.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/21/12 - 10:05 pm
7
0
Flip Flop?

When the name was announced, how many times did school officials have to define "regent" and explain what the word means?

Now, school officials are claiming it is a "general enough term."

Huh?

Ruckus
467
Points
Ruckus 09/22/12 - 01:24 am
2
0
King Azziz and his round table

King Azziz power is not above that of Pat Robertson. We need to give Pat's lawyers a list of all the clowns on the board and addresses for this. Down with The King !!!!!! LOL

zarr0
5
Points
zarr0 09/22/12 - 06:58 am
3
0
What a Shame

You know it really is a shame that this has occurred. The only reason he did not use the name "Augusta" is because he is mad that we would not bow down to him and give him Laney Walker Blvd. to close only to foot traffic. So he decided to get back at Augusta by changing the name and not using "Augusta"... What a cry baby!!

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 09/22/12 - 07:19 am
5
0
Running Tally

As a part of the freedom of information act I would like to see the Chronicle keep a running tally of how much money, which could have gone directly to students or the institutions in general, will be wasted defending the decision to ignore the $45K survey and more importantly where the money is coming from. I'd start with taking some from each BOR member and Azziz since they made this debacle in the first place. It's a shame that the people of Augusta have to depend on a lawsuit from a VA university to get anything done. Really does go to show how little Augusta is thought of by the people who are supposed to be leaders at the universities, the city and the state of GA. Dr. Bloodworth got out of the fray at a good time...probably the smartest one in the crowd.

zippy
250
Points
zippy 09/22/12 - 07:33 am
3
0
Chronicle....post a copy if

Chronicle....post a copy if the lawsuit.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 09/22/12 - 08:20 am
1
1
If only Johnny Cochran were
Unpublished

If only Johnny Cochran were alive we could raise the money to hire him.

crkgrdn
2287
Points
crkgrdn 09/22/12 - 10:22 am
2
0
More of our money out the door

Money was spent on a poll to choose the new name; nearly $50,000. The court costs will dwarf that amount.

The good will of the community for the consolidation has been lost.

Put Augusta back in the name and let's move on.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 09/22/12 - 10:49 am
4
0
More

There's more money wasted on the underhanded naming process than merely the cash paid for the survey. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on salaries of high-dollar university system employees having to defend the name. The two high-dollar presidents meet in those forums and are confronted with the public who express their disgust in near unanimity, yet the presidents stonewall and sneer at us "little people."

Just think about the professors and administrative personnel who were put on the naming committee. Collectively they were paid for over a thousand hours to brainstorm in good faith (at least what they thought was good faith) to come up with names. Never did a single one of them propose the name "regents." Well into the process, after the committee published its first list ("regents" not on it), did Azziz spring his October surprise and coerce them to put up a list of three containing "regents." Even then, the committee and the public thought the repugnant "regents" would obviously fail next to the logical and popular University of Augusta.

Only when we got the news from the board of regents that they wanted a monument to their inflated egos did the community realize that the fix had been in all along.

How did the naming committee members feel about their president when they realized that their assignment had been a sham; mere busy work?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/22/12 - 11:23 am
4
0
How does MCG and ASU become a

How does MCG and ASU become a world-class R-1 research university?

They come together under a name using a “general enough term."

A “general enough term” will inspire academic excellence and command worldwide respect.

A “general enough term” will provide great marketing opportunities.

Benjamin Paine
233
Points
Benjamin Paine 09/22/12 - 12:41 pm
3
0
Just Asking

Why haven't the professors at GHSU or GRU taken a no confidence vote if so much time, effort and resources have been squandered by their president?

Given what has been posted on the stories related to consolidation from what appears to be people inside the university, can someone explain why they are they sitting back and tolerating such gross mismanagement?

I am left perplexed why no official action has been taken by those in a position to call attention to the situation and perhaps result in meaningful change given that the need for new leadership appears so obvious.

Benjamin Paine
233
Points
Benjamin Paine 09/22/12 - 12:53 pm
3
0
Running Tally- While they are at it

It would also be nice to have a running tally of how much is being spent by Azziz on his residence, personal staff, office staff, administrative support, moving offices, parties, travel, lobbying, remodeling, and ......

It would also be nice to have a running tally of the cost related to consolidation including all of the of expenses related to meetings, planning, reorganization, moving offices and employees, remodeling, signage, and .......

All of the funds and resources consumed could have alternatively been allocated to the real purpose of these institutions- EDUCATION.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 09/22/12 - 03:51 pm
1
0
No Confidence

That's a parliamentary technique used in European countries, Canada, and Israel. It doesn't exist in the U.S. In particular, it cannot exist in an employer/employee relationship. In a legislative/executive relationship the two sides are presumed equal partners. In the employer/employee relationship, no such equality is acknowledged.

If an employee dared to set up a "no confidence" vote (either secretly or openly), he/she would be exposed and would become persona non grata. It can never be realized in practicality. People have to work under the radar and get the word to the governor through friends of the governor.

One thing at a time: Grooo name first; Azziz second.

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