BY EUGENE VOLOKH
March 17 at 2:47 pm
But such use of trademarks in parody and criticism is protected by the First Amendment.
MoveOn.org put up this billboard in Louisiana, using Louisiana’s tourism slogan and other imagery. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne — who is also the Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism — has sued MoveOn, claiming that MoveOn is infringing on Louisiana’s trademarks. Louisiana owns the service mark described as, Louisiana pick your passion logo: “Louisiana” is in purple uppercase Letters, with exclamation points replacing each letter “i.”. “Pick your Passion” is in red, in a modified cursive font, angled upwards from left to right, beneath the word “Louisiana.”
Dardenne is asking the court for an injunction [p]rohibiting MoveOn.org from using anything other that the mere words contained in the Service Marks, thus prohibiting the use of the font style, the substitution of exclamation points for the letter “I” in the word “Louisiana,” the copy of the photograph of the plate of crawfish taken from the Department’s website, and art work and colors that are taken from the Service Marks.
But MoveOn’s use does not violate trademark law, and is indeed protected by the First Amendment.
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