The lawsuit over the name of the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities will become simpler next month.
In response to the University System of Georgia and the Board of Regents’ claim of sovereign immunity as a defense to a federal lawsuit, Regent University in Virginia decided to drop part of its legal challenge to the name Georgia Regents University.
Regent had claimed that Georgia was violating its rights under state and federal constitutions, but will drop that claim. The Virginia university isn’t conceding Georgia’s argument, but by narrowing the legal issue, both sides will save time and money.
In an order signed Nov. 20, the federal judge gave Regent University 14 days to amend its lawsuit originally filed in September. Georgia will have the opportunity to respond afterward.
The Virginia school first sent a cease-and-desist letter and then filed suit after the Georgia board decided to named the combined Augusta campuses Georgia Regents University. According to court documents filed this month, the decision to include “Augusta” as an unofficial part of the name doesn’t settle the complaint for the Virginia university.
Regent University intends to pursue the lawsuit on grounds of trademark infringement and unfair competition. The school has had a trademark on the name since at least 1990.
On Aug. 7, the Georgia Board of Regents voted on the new name for the combined schools in Augusta. The board bypassed the results of a nationwide survey that ranked “University of Augusta” as the top choice. A community campaign, Save the A, led to a compromise decision to add the city’s name to the school, although it is unofficial.