Advocacy organization MoveOn.org placed billboards in Louisiana criticizing the governor’s Medicaid policies. The billboard refers to Louisiana’s trademarked phrase ‘Pick Your Passion.’
Here is the ‘argument.’ The Lieutenant Governor’s office, which we are told is a ‘separate’ office from that of the Governor, instructs the Tourism Department. The Tourism Department is the title owner of the PICK YOUR PASSION trademark, which covers ‘Promoting culture, recreation, tourism and business in Louisiana.’ MoveOn’s billboard uses the trademark to criticize the Governor, not the Lieutenant Governor. Under the ‘Cat is Not in the Hat’ line of reasoning (ignoring the conflation of tm and copyright theories), defendant may only appropriate plaintiff’s protectable expression to comment on plaintiff, not on a third party. The Billboard uses the Lieutenant Governor’s trademark to comment on the Governor.
Seems like transparent sophistry to me. Perhaps MoveOn should consider a 42 USC Sec 1983 claim against the State of Louisiana.