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National Grange Trademark: Counterclaim file against firm

By Amanda Brozana, National Grange Communications Director (Grange Monthly Newsletter 1/31/14)

  FEBRUARY 22, 2014 --

In March 2013, it came to the National Grange’s attention that a new for-profit law firm was opening in Minneapolis, Minnesota that intended to use the name “Fare Grange.”

The law firm was formed by two lawyers to offer legal services and lobbying on behalf of farmers, food businesses, and nonprofit organizations that promote those interests. These are the same areas in which the National Grange has been involved for nearly a century and a half. The National Grange is concerned that if the law firm were permitted to use the name “Fare Grange,” that it would falsely suggest an affiliation with the National Grange or any of its more than 2000 affiliated state and local Grange chapters, which is impermissible under U.S. trademark and unfair competition laws.

The National Grange contacted the law firm to try to resolve the matter, but the law firm filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration from a federal court that it could use the name “Fare Grange.” The National Grange maintains that the law firm’s claims (which also include unsupported allegations that the Grange coerces small businesses into paying for licenses, among other allegations) are unfounded.  As such, the National Grange filed counterclaims against the law firm on January 10, 2014 for trademark infringement as well as motions to dismiss the claims made by the law firm in their suit, in order to enforce the National Grange’s longstanding trademark rights.

The National Grange has made legitimate, good faith efforts to protect its legal rights in its name and trademarks.  The National Grange, of course, has always and will continue to make every legally necessary effort to protect its rights, as it must do under U.S. law, so that its members may continue to share in the goodwill of this 147-year-old American institution.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, or are contacted by a member of the media and asked to discuss the matter, please refer all questions and inquiries to the Grange’s Communication Director Amanda Leigh Brozana (abrozana@nationalgrange.org202-628-3507 ext. 102).

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