Foley vs. Foley

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Settlement, unfortunately, seems to be the sad outcome of what could have been a delightful bit of litigation:

The Boston-based firm Foley Hoag sued Foley & Lardner last October for using the term “Foley” in advertisements and marketing materials. Foley & Lardner, which has its largest office in Milwaukee, is mulling changes, according to the firm’s general counsel, Jim Clark. …
Foley Hoag co-managing partner Robert Sanoff said that the “parties are working conscientiously to come to a business accommodation on the issue.”

Foley Hoag, which registered its own two-name title as a service mark in 2002, said that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied Foley & Lardner permission to use “Foley” in early 2004 on the grounds that it could cause confusion with Foley Hoag. In 2004, Foley & Lardner forged ahead with a rebranding campaign.

Both law firms have a Washington office, but according to Foley Hoag’s court papers, incidents of mistaken identity increased “exponentially” after Foley & Lardner took over the Boston office of New York-based Epstein Becker & Green in February 2005. …

In addition to service mark infringement, Foley Hoag sued its rival for false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, unfair competition under Massachusetts laws and service mark dilution under Massachusetts laws.

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From Law.com (free link, I think). The good news? “The dismissal order gives the parties one year to reopen the case if the settlement is not consummated.” One can always hope.

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Author:Ron Coleman

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