Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Salt Lake City Sues TSA Over SIMPLIFLY

On March 23, 2009, Salt Lake City Corporation (“SLC”), the municipal corporation which includes the Salt Lake City Department of Airports which operates and manages the Salt Lake City International Airport, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and its airport seucurity division, the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. See Salt Lake City Corporation v. Department of Homeland Security et al, Case No. 09-cv-00257 (D. Utah.). A copy of the complaint can be viewed here. Newspaper reports on the lawsuit can be found here and here.

SLC holds a federal trademark registration for the mark SIMPLI-FLY which it claims to have used since July 2003 in connection with its airport customer assistance and information services (e.g., providing information to callers regarding airport security, airline procedures, and other airport services and facilities). The mark was registered February 21, 2005. I was unable to find any current picture of SLC's use of its mark, but pictured below is the specimen provided by SLC when it filed its application.

At issue in SLC’s complaint is TSA’s use of the term SIMPLIFLY on its website in connection with providing information and recommendations regarding airport security procedures. A copy of TSA’s “SIMPLIFLY” poster is shown below.

SLC believes that TSA’s continued use of the mark in connection with airport security information services is likely to cause confusion with its registered service mark. SLC sent a cease and desist letter to TSA on January 11, 2008, and then a follow-up cease and desist letter on December 31, 2008 – neither TSA or DHS replied to SLC’s letter as and evidenced by the above link, TSA is still using SIMPLIFLY.

SLC’s causes of action are for registered trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. §1114, false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. §1125(a), common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, trademark dilution under 15 U.S.C. §1125(c) [ed.-seriously…famous?], and deceptive trade practices under Utah law (Utah Code Ann. §13-11a-3).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the "greatest snow on earth" debacle. I guess the snow-shoe is on the other foot now.