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News Now

CU System
Another CU files trademark suit
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (5/25/10)--For the second time in just over a week, a credit union has filed a trademark infringement suit in a federal court against an entity using a similar name. Clearview FCU (CFCU), based in Moon Township, Pa., filed the suit Thursday in a U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, against Clearview Credit Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based debt reduction service provider that includes credit counseling and debt settlement Clearview Credit Inc. (CCI) was known as Debt Reduction America Inc. until early January 2009, according to the complaint filed Thursday. CFCU offers banking services including credit counseling. It filed its trademark on Aug. 21, 2003, and registered it Jan. 24, 2006, for the design mark "Clearview Federal Credit Union" and design in connection with "credit union services." CFCU also holds a trademark for "Clearview" in connection with credit union services, which it filed for on Jan. 12, 2003 and registered on Feb. 1, 2005. The credit union alleges that the debt settlement company is targeting the credit union's 79,000 members via phone and mail solicitations "in an apparent attempt to trade on the goodwill established by CFCU in connection with the Clearview marks," and causing confusion in the market place. CCI's solicitation of CFCU's members "has, in fact, caused several instances actual confusion in the marketplace as to the source and/or sponsorship of CCI's services." Solicited credit union members "learned that CCI's solicitations did not originate from CFCU only upon being reassured by CFCU representatives that the solicitations were not authorized or provided by CFCU and that CCI is in no way associated or affiliated with CFCU." The suit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction and restraint from using the mark or any similar mark, destruction of any materials with the mark, and damages. On May 12, another credit union, Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, Mich., brought a trademark infringement suit in the U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor against First Michigan Bancorp Inc., based in Troy, Mich., saying that the name "First Michigan" is too similar to its name (News Now May 18).


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