Trademark lawsuit due to the utilization of employee’s unionAAA IPRIGHT2
Is there any rare case where instead of being suppressed and silenced by employers, workers who engage in protests and strikes are sued for trademark infringement by the business owners? Such a unique case did occur in New Jersey, United States.
Less than three months after the employees of Medieval Times, a dinner theater in New Jersey, voted to establish a union, the company filed a federal lawsuit against the union, accusing them of engaging in trademark infringement.
This action has been widely criticized as an effort to retaliate against their employees and discourage future unionization efforts. On the effectiveness side, this approach may have backfired as the union has filed two charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Medieval Times is a family-friendly dinner theater that transports its customers back to medieval times through jousting, sword-fighting, and other medieval-style entertainment. Performers participate in impressive reenactments of knightly tournaments as guests enjoy a journey to this era. However, when the employees of Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ organized a union to protect their rights, the company’s leadership did not approve of this.
This is not surprising as many companies dislike their employees forming unions, as it signifies a lack of trust in their leadership and the potential for unions to disrupt their operations through protests, strikes, and other means.
Following New Jersey, a branch in California also quickly voted to establish a union. According to the law, employers are prohibited from retaliating against union members within their business, particularly through actions like termination, work stoppages, or causing disruptions to the union formation.
Therefore, Medieval Times took a different approach and filed a lawsuit against the union members in federal court on October 13, 2022, claiming that the union – Medieval Times Performers United – engaged in trademark infringement that could create confusion for consumers.
In their trademark lawsuit, Medieval Times argues that the union members using their name are taking advantage of the goodwill the company has established. The company also claims that the use of the Medieval Times trademark under the union’s name could lead to a loss of control over their intellectual property.
They further argue that consumers may mistake the union’s actions as actions of Medieval Times, representing the interests of Medieval Times, while in reality, the two sides are in conflict.
In the infringement lawsuit, the company is seeking an injunction to prevent the union from using its name. Following that, they may request compensation for damages, unjust enrichment, and attorney fees.
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