IAFF Sues for Trademark Infringement

It is not often that we have the opportunity to discuss trademark law here at Fire Law Blog, but a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the International Association of Fire Fighters alleges trademark infringement as well as a variety of related claims.

The IAFF filed suit last month against Rescue Tees.com, LLC and its owner, Theresa Meyer, alleging trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. §1114, false designation and unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), common law trademark infringement, common law unfair competition, and dilution of a trademark under Florida Statutes § 495.151. Rescue Tees.com is a Michigan company doing business in Florida. The suit was filed in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

According to the complaint, Rescue Tees.com has been selling “decals and lapel pins bearing the IAFF’s name, acronym, and logo.” The name “International Association of Fire Fighters”, the acronym “IAFF”, and its distinctive logo are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The “manufacturing, marketing, distributing, offering for sale, and selling” items bearing the trademarks is illegal unless licensed or authorized by the IAFF.

The IAFF alleges:

  • At all times material herein, defendants Rescue Tees and Theresa Meyer have distributed and sold, in the United States, decals and lapel pins bearing the distinctive trademark “IAFF” as well as the entire IAFF logo and the words “International Association Fire Fighters. AFL-CIO, CLC.”
  • These decals and lapel pin are sold through defendants’ website at wvw.rescucetees.com, through Amazon.com, and through eBay.com.

The complaint seeks compensatory damages including the recovery of all profits that Rescue Tees and Meyer earned, as well as punitive damages, and an injunction prohibiting any further violations.

Here is a copy of the complaint: IAFF v Rescue Tees

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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