The American Legion's request to a Greek American veterans group in Massachusetts was clear: Stop using the legion's name. Out-of-court talks failed, and now the American Legion is suing for alleged trademark infringement.
The legion, represented by a Winston & Strawn team in Washington, sued the Greek American Legion of Massachusetts this week in an attempt to force the Greek organization to drop “American Legion” from its name. A copy of the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is here.
The legion’s attorneys, including Winston partner Charles Molster III, said in the suit that the American Legion has exclusive right to use the name. The legion owns several U.S. trademark registrations for its name and emblem, the complaint said. The suit only seeks an injunction.
Molster said in the suit that The Greek American Legion name is “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception and create the erroneous impression that the actual legion is associated with the Greek American organization in Lowell, Mass.
Lawyers for the American Legion said they were unable to reach an amicable resolution through out-of-court talks. Molster wasn’t immediately reached for comment this afternoon.
Court records in Washington do not identify an attorney for the Greek American Legion. The commander, Timothy Demitropolous, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon. The Greek American Legion of Massachusetts, a non-profit corporation, was organized in 1946, state records show.
The suit in Washington isn’t the first time the legion has sued to protect its name. In a 2006 case in federal district court in Missouri, Winston and Bryan Cave attorneys represented the American Legion in a suit against The American Legion Baseball, Department of Missouri, Inc. A consent judgment in 2007 said the baseball corporation must cease use of the legion’s name.