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Atlanta nonprofit sues over unfair competition, trademark issues

A company's name often reflects its characteristics and values and can evoke certain feelings in consumers and business partners. Companies often trademark their names because they want to protect their brand, image and reputation. Any other company that tries to capitalize on that name may face a lawsuit. The nonprofit organization Atlanta Beltline Inc. is suing Andrew Realty Group Inc. for what it claims is federal trademark infringement, along with an accusation of unfair competition and trademark dilution.

The lawsuit was filed recently in U.S. District Court. In the suit, Atlanta Beltline accuses Andrew Realty Group of using the terms "Beltline" and "Atlanta Beltline" in its domain names in an attempt to profit from the Beltline name. This is known as "cybersquatting," which is also mentioned in the lawsuit.

The company claims that Andrew Realty Group was attempting to deceive and confuse consumers who would recognize the Atlanta Beltline name in the domain. The lawsuit explains the value and high quality of the Atlanta Beltline name and how the nonprofit is perceived by the public. Atlanta Beltline is currently managing a substantial revitalization project that involves redeveloping several miles of historic railway corridors in the Atlanta area.

There are, of course, two sides to every story. The reports do not mention how Andrew Realty Group responded to the lawsuit, though the company undoubtedly wants the chance to defend itself against the allegations of unfair competition and trademark infringement. In a situation like this where both companies have a reputation at stake, both sides may wish to consult with a legal team that may help them obtain a satisfactory resolution to the case.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, "Atlanta Beltline sues Andrew Realty Group Inc.," Douglas Sams, Jan. 16, 2013

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