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Regent University to file suit over Georgia Regents name

Regent University disputes name

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Regent University in Virginia announced Wednesday it will file a trademark infringement lawsuit against the University System of Georgia Board of Regents over its decision to name the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities Georgia Regents University.

An intellectual-property attorney said the names do not have to be identical for there to be a trademark violation.

Regent sent a message to the Georgia board before its Aug. 7 vote notifying it the Virginia school had trademarked the name and asking it not to vote for the Regents name.

“Regent University has consistently taken steps to protect its trademarked name,” said Dr. Carlos Campo, the president of Regent University, in a statement. “We have respect for the Georgia Board of Regents but we believe that their selection of the name Georgia Regents University is an unfortunate infringement of our valuable federally registered trademark.”

A Regent spokeswoman said that the lawsuit will be filed this week but that it is not clear exactly when. It will likely be filed in Georgia, Mindy Hughes said.

Some Augusta lawyers, apparently upset over the Georgia Regents name, contacted the Virginia school about aiding the lawsuit, but the school is going to use its regular trademark counsel, Hughes said. A spokesman for the Georgia board and a spokeswoman for the Georgia Attorney General’s Office said they do not comment on pending litigation.

Just after the Georgia board voted this month, a university system official said its counsel thought the name was broad enough that the Regent University suit would not prevail.

The standard the court would use is not whether the name is exactly like the trademark but whether “the phrase is confusingly similar,” said intellectual-property attorney Tim Moses, of Augusta.

“Really, what you are trying to prevent is confusion in the marketplace,” he said.

In a letter to the Georgia Regents before the vote, attorney Ronald A. DiCerbo cited similar language in asserting that “any use by your institution of the mark ‘Georgia Regents University’ in the United States is likely to cause confusion with Regent University’s REGENT UNIVERSITY trademarks.”

“Such use is also likely to lead persons to believe that the Georgia Regents University and its educational services are in some way associated with or endorsed by REGENT UNIVERSITY,” he continued. “Further, such use will serve to dilute Regent University’s trademarks.”

Often, sending a letter to the other party pointing out the likelihood that using the trademark will cause confusion among competitors in a similar marketplace is sufficient, Moses said. Pointing out differences, such as the use of the word Georgia or vastly different color schemes or logos, could help bolster the claim the two are not that similar, he said.

“Anything that you do to distinguish your mark from theirs helps,” Moses said.

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soitgoes
820
Points
soitgoes 08/22/12 - 11:16 am
8
0
Regent University will win this lawsuit

and I hope they do. We will see...

scoopdedoop64
2395
Points
scoopdedoop64 08/22/12 - 11:23 am
9
0
The Million Dollar Question

Will this slow down things enough to bring about a reconsideration to change the name to include Augusta in the name?

Fiat_Lux
15644
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/22/12 - 11:25 am
12
0
YEEEEESSSSSS!

I'm glad someone is doing something that will get their attention because they have completely ignored the people who are being most affected by their callous stupidity.

Riverman1
84893
Points
Riverman1 08/22/12 - 11:27 am
8
2
More Money Wasted

This silly name is costing us. Didn't anyone except one regent think this all out?

Dixieman
15306
Points
Dixieman 08/22/12 - 11:38 am
12
0
Kaaaaaaaaa-

BOOM!
Great news.
Stay tuned, folks, the fun is just beginning.
MEMO TO: Buildings and Grounds Staff. "Um, hold off on those new signs for a while, okay?"

rox
30
Points
rox 08/22/12 - 11:29 am
10
0
pat robertson will put his

pat robertson will put his money where his mouth is and he is pretty stubborn when he believes in something....and now there will be NATIONAL coverage bearing down on Azizz and the BoR....because, if anything, pat robertson is good at getting national scrutiny (good or bad, its still national coverage)...

Riverman1
84893
Points
Riverman1 08/22/12 - 11:30 am
5
1
Do the right thing

Don't copy THEIR name.

Sweet son
10547
Points
Sweet son 08/22/12 - 11:35 am
8
0
Put Up the Paint Ricky!

We don't need signs for the time being!

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 08/22/12 - 11:43 am
12
0
Vanity

The narcissism, vanity, and arrogance of the Georgia Board of Regents is being put ahead of the welfare of Georgia taxpayers and students of the university system. Instead of recognizing the validity of the trademark infringement claim of Regent University, our Board of Regents is hunkering down for a long and costly lawsuit. Why not? The individual board members don't have to pay; you and I do.

zippy
250
Points
zippy 08/22/12 - 11:46 am
9
0
I say we start a fund to help

I say we start a fund to help regent university with their legal fees. That way they feel less of the burden of fighting to protect their name and will be more inclined to take it the whole way.

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 08/22/12 - 11:49 am
8
0
It also sounds like Azziz and

It also sounds like Azziz and the BOR is being given advice from their lawyers that says Regent University has no case...at least that's what I've been told by someone over there. I hope they have been given bad advice, and will pull out as soon as they see the end of the GRU name is near. It'll be interesting.

Fiat_Lux
15644
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/22/12 - 11:56 am
10
0
@Riverman

Ignorance is inherent in arrogance.

Riverman1
84893
Points
Riverman1 08/22/12 - 11:59 am
5
1
Fiat, yep, I've been picking

Fiat, yep, I've been picking up on Azziz's less than stellar thought processes, too.

Fiat_Lux
15644
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/22/12 - 12:02 pm
7
0
They may still have time to fix this

If D'isease steps back and requests the name be changed to something reasonable, something more tolerable for the people who make his enterprise run, he might be able to salvage some of the goodwill and support of the people who were willing to give him a shot at his dreams of empire.

I hope it's not already too late for that.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 08/22/12 - 12:19 pm
7
0
So now the taxpayers foot the

So now the taxpayers foot the bill for a legal defense of Project Azziz. It's only money.

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 08/22/12 - 12:33 pm
7
0
Lawsuit

I think that we all know that it didn't need to come this. Surely those who were involved in the "branding" fiasco knew the potential for disaster was there when Regent University in VA asked them politely to not use this name with the accompanying explanation that is was a trademarked name.
Dr. Azziz may have just met his match in Pat Robertson! Dr. A wanted our "uncool" town to be known nationally-- with Robertson's national presence and just as willing to not back down for something he believes in that is about to happen and not in a way that we would like it. Just hope that any expense incured by this latest event is covered by the BOR and Azziz who have brought MCG and ASU (which is what they need to be called) to this point in the process.

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 08/22/12 - 12:48 pm
4
1
Disaster

Augusta had better watch out. If things get heated, Pat Robertson might call down a hurricane or pestilence on Augusta.

story1
802
Points
story1 08/22/12 - 12:58 pm
2
1
Could this be...

a grudge Dr. Aziz has against UV and/or Dr. Campo and we're caught in the middle?

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 08/22/12 - 01:06 pm
5
0
Oh wow!

Dr. Azziz wanted national attention...now he has got it!!!

zippy
250
Points
zippy 08/22/12 - 01:13 pm
5
0
The BOR seem to think that

The BOR seem to think that Regent has no case. I disagree. If Regent University registered their name as a trademark to identify their product of providing undergraduate and graduate education services and they have properly taken steps to protect and enforce their rights to the Regent mark, they have every right to object to a similar entity coming along and using that mark to identify the similar entity’s institution which also provides undergraduate and graduate educational services. The only issue I see is that GRU will not be providing their services outside of Georgia, however, Regent University does. Regent University has online students locate all around the world as well as a physical campus in Virginia. Therefore, at least for the Georgia consumers of the educational product, it is reasonable to conclude that Georgia Regents University is somehow affiliated with Regent University. If Regent University does not wish to allow Georgia to use that name in that respect, they have a right to force Georgia to change it. This is going to get interesting.

crossyourarms
215
Points
crossyourarms 08/22/12 - 01:30 pm
6
0
Pat Robertson

700 Club Vs Augusta!
Awesome

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 08/22/12 - 01:33 pm
2
0
didn't see that coming...

didn't see that coming... /sarcasm

142
Points
Dan White 08/22/12 - 01:38 pm
1
1
Azziz intends to enroll students outside Georgia

Zippy - there are plenty of statements by Dr. Azziz that he intends to enroll many students outside of Augusta and Georgia. That's one of the excuses he gave for not using Augusta in the name. His intentions are that GRU is not for consumption by Georgia students per se.

KSL
131267
Points
KSL 08/22/12 - 01:41 pm
3
1
Whoever the attorney for the

Whoever the attorney for the BoR and who advised them that Regent U in VA had no case should provide his servives free of charge.

Why should he profit from taxpayers who are paying him to give good advice, not bad?

142
Points
Dan White 08/22/12 - 01:50 pm
5
0
More wasted money

Will Azziz and the Board of Regents waste more taxpayer money like they did on the $45,000 survey to name new U? Defending the Georgia Regents University name is going to be costly and a waste of money. The solution is so easy. Change the name to what most people want: Augusta University. Of course, Azziz might want to change it to Global Regents University and keep the GRU since his vision is global and not local or Georgia based. At least one insitution of higher learning still has Augusta in it - Augusta Tech - as long as Azziz is not put in charge of it.

I may be myopic, but I don't see how GRU can thrive without local support since most of the ASU students come from Augusta even though medical students come from everywhere. The alumni base is mostly in Augusta. It also seems that most of the financial support from businesses and business people is from Augusta. Even the current fundraising campaign the annual “A Day for ASU” depends on local gifts more than it does on gifts nationally or statewide.

dichotomy
33496
Points
dichotomy 08/22/12 - 01:49 pm
5
1
Oh good, another group of

Oh good, another group of asinine, arrogant government bureaucrats using MY tax money to defend THEIR stupid, moronic decisions. Hey, these BOR guys will fit right in here in Augusta.

We told them "don't do it". Regents U. told them "don't do it". But Azziz and the BOR must have figured they've got enough of OUR money left over in the new sign slush fund to pay for some lawyers.

I'll never understand how we end up with so many stupid people running our lives and spending our money. Oh wait, yes I do....I watched last nights election.

KSL
131267
Points
KSL 08/22/12 - 01:52 pm
2
1
@Dan

Not yet!

jeff scott
151
Points
jeff scott 08/22/12 - 02:30 pm
2
11
Maximum absurdity

So why don't others sue over "college" or "university?" The big picture mistake in all of this was even surveying Augustans in the first place. This is the classic liberal 'let's get everyone to feel they're a part of it' fantasy. Elevating people's self-prominence even an inch is asking for trouble from the start, as they'll only take a mile in the end. The provincial attitudes here are ridiculous. People not from the south think Maine not Georgia, if you tell them Augusta. The school will prosper or not without any regard to what you call it. No wonder the south is half a step behind.

twentieth century man
102
Points
twentieth century man 08/22/12 - 02:37 pm
3
0
regent lawsuit

Great news. Would be willing to contribute to a legal fund to protect Regent University's trademark. Whatever it takes!

bentman
455
Points
bentman 08/22/12 - 02:39 pm
3
0
It also sounds like Azziz and the BOR is being given advice from

"It also sounds like Azziz and the BOR is being given advice from their lawyers that says Regent University has no case"

Of course the lawyers are going to say that. Emperor Tariq Azziz told the lawyers to say that. The lawyers will display pathological loyalty in order to keep their jobs.

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