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Battle of the Rochester's

The University of Rochester last week sued Rochester University for alleged trade mark infringement following the latter’s recent name change. Rochester University, based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, previously operated under the name Rochester College before announcing the transition to its current name in 2018. Rochester University is accused of damaging the University of Rochester’s brand and causing confusion among the public, particularly prospective students. The University of Rochester is seeking an account of profits from Rochester University as well as its legal fees and punitive damages. The University of Rochester claims that many of its alumni appear to have erroneously connected with Rochester University on LinkedIn believing it to be the former. Further, it submitted that the respective universities’ web addresses are only one character different from each other, causing many users to be directed to the Rochester University website (www.rochesteru.edu) rather than its own (www.rochester.edu). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected Rochester University’s trade mark application in 2021 due to the potential for confusion but granted the mark earlier this year after the University added a technical disclaimer. Rochester University’s representatives pointed to similar cases of establishments coexisting with similar names, such as Washington University and the University of Washington and Miami University and the University of Miami. This demonstrates the importance of getting in first when it comes to trade marks in order to protect your name against your competitors. It also shows that it is crucial that you enforce your rights as the proprietor of the trade mark. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com. in: EU/International, Legal News, News, Trade Marks

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