20
Aug/03

Management vs. Labor – Can You Sue Me Me Now? Good.


Two readers emailed me not with the Sobig virus but with links to a NY Times article about Verizon and the union with whom it is embroiled in a contract dispute.  Verizon sued the union for using the trademark phrase CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? in a conference call and the union has counter sued Verzion for listening into the conference call.  Really.

One reader supplied the link with the comment “pretty damn silly” and the other with the comment “unbelievable.”

However, unions and management suing each other on trademark is a time-honored sideshow to labor disputes.  In Brach van Houten Holding v. Save Brach’s Coalition, 856 F. Supp. 472, 31
USPQ2d 1786 (ND Ill 1994) (no online version available), the trademark owner sued the union for using the BRACHS mark to name an ad hoc anti-management group, and in International Assn of Machinist and Aerospace Workers v. Winship Green Nursing Center,  96-1206 (1st Cir. Dec. 30, 1996), the union sued the trademark owner for using the union’s trademark in infoarmtional material during the dispute.

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