Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland is suing Mount Saint Mary’s University of Los Angeles for sharing a similar name. The lawsuit was filed in federal court based on allegations Mount Saint Mary’s University of Los Angeles had committed trademark infringement.
Both universities are private Catholic liberal arts universities. The trademark lawsuit is attempting to stop Mount Saint Mary’s University of Los Angeles from offering online classes under the name “Mount Saint Mary’s”. According to the lawsuit, the Los Angeles university has also stolen the nickname of the Maryland university, “The Mount”. On two separate occasions, the Maryland university claims to have sent cease and desist letters to no avail.
Mount Saint Mary’s University of Los Angeles was originally called Mount St. Mary’s College before undergoing a name change earlier this year. After adding additional graduate degrees and expanding enrollment, the Los Angeles school wanted a name change that represented its growth.
The Maryland school claims to own the trademarks for Mount St. Mary’s University, Mount Saint Mary’s University, The Mount and MSMU. According to the Maryland school, all trademarks are on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2004, the Maryland school registered its trademarks when it changed its name to Mount St. Mary’s University.
Private institutions offering higher education have become a big business, and tens of millions of dollars are at stake for both universities. Officials with the Maryland school claim the similar names have already created confusion among students. Until this lawsuit is resolved, both universities may have a lot of to lose.
In cases where the stakes are high for private institutions and companies, having an experienced business litigation attorney can mean the difference between success and ruin.
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