Georgia challenges Virginia school's trademark on Regent University name

Not only is the state of Georgia not backing off the proposed name for the consolidated public universities in Augusta, but it also has launched an attack on Re­gent University’s trademarked name.

In a Dec. 21 response to the Virginia university’s amended lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Augusta, the Georgia attorney general acknowledges Regent University has had a trademark on that name since 1990. However, according to court records, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia filed a petition Dec. 4 seeking the cancellation of that registration.

The challenge is pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to the administrative board’s Web site, the case has pretrial matters scheduled through February 2014.

According to the private Atlanta firm hired to represent Georgia’s Board of Regents in the challenge, the name “Regent” should not be trademarked because it is a generic term used by many universities.

Regent University in Vir­ginia Beach, Va., sent a cease-and-desist letter to Georgia’s Board of Regents on Aug. 4, a few days before the board was scheduled to select a new name for the merged Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities.

The board decided 17 to 1 to approve the name Geor­gia Regents University.

The board is scheduled to take a final vote on the name Jan. 8.

In response to the lawsuit, Georgia denies the proposed name for Augusta’s university has caused or will cause any harm or monetary damages to the Virginia school.

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Topic Page: University Merger

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