August 20, 2014

Preliminary Injunction Favors Takoma Academy

Posted March 20, 2014

Nearly a month before their Alumni Weekend officials at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland, received positive news regarding their yearlong conflict with a breakaway group known as Takoma Academy Alumni Association, Inc., (TAAA, Inc.). Deborah Chasanow, U.S. District Court chief judge, issued a preliminary injunction in the trademark infringement lawsuit in favor of the Potomac Conference and Takoma Academy.

Potomac Conference officials filed the lawsuit last year against TAAA, Inc. and Henry Pittman, president of TAAA, Inc., after they received a strongly-worded letter from Pittman’s attorney asking the school to relinquish use of the “Takoma Academy Alumni Association” name. Pittman’s attorney claimed that the school’s use of the name was “unlicensed and unauthorized.”

In an April 18, 2013 statement, Potomac Conference officials explained that it was Pittman’s organization “improperly using the names ‘Takoma Academy’ and ‘TA’ and that they are liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The suit further [alleged] that their actions have caused confusion among TA’s supporters.”

Potomac Conference officials noted in a fact sheet issued last year, “We do not want any independent group using the good name of Takoma Academy when in fact it is not affiliated with or sponsored by the school.”

Nearly a year later, the March 4 injunction states in part:

“Defendant Takoma Academy Alumni Association, Inc. and its officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, and all persons acting in concert therewith, be and hereby ARE ENJOINED from:

1. Using the names “Takoma Academy,” “TA,” Takoma Academy Alumni Association,” and “TAAA” in any manner whatsoever, including without limitation, in connection with the advertising, promotion or sale of any product or service, solicitation of contributions or fundraising, as a logo on Facebook or LinkedIn or any other Web site, and including, without limitation, on all signs, advertising materials, letters, e-mails, forms, or any other articles;

2. Operating TAalumni.org Web site, or any other Web site whose domain name contains the words “Takoma Academy,” “TA,” Takoma Academy Alumni Association,” and “TAAA.”

3. Committing any act that infringes the “Takoma Academy,” “TA,” “Takoma Academy Alumni Association,” and “TAAA” marks.

In a statement issued March 14, Potomac Conference officials wrote, “We are thankful for the positive ruling that secures ownership of the Takoma Academy brand, protects the good name of our educational ministry and ensures that its legacy remains strong. As a school and alumni we now have opportunity to move forward in strength together, to fulfill the mission of Takoma Academy, which is to lead young people to Jesus Christ, provide excellence in academics and a commitment to service.”

Visit ta.edu/alumni for more information.

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