AARP prevails in trademark infringement case

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 27, 2013 

Mess with the AARP's trademarks at your peril.

On Wednesday, the venerable non-profit organization prevailed in a trademark infringement case filed against an insurance broker who, according to AARP's complaint, "uses 'AARP' to advertise and promote his insurance business without...permission."

Michael Sycle, according to a decision handed down Wednesday, "falsely offers to sell 'AARP Life Insurance' on his website (and)...also falsely advertised his ability to sell 'AARP Life Insurance' through Internet advertisements and YouTube videos directing viewers to his website and toll-free telephone number." 

AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, told Sycle to stop. He didn't. The organization sued. Sycle didn't respond. Bad tactic: Sycle loses the case by default.

In her 14-page decision, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a permanent injunction ordering Sycle not to infringe on the AARP trademark any more and agreed to AARP's request for attorneys fees, which must still be determined. She held off, though, on granting AARP's request for $2 million in damages, asking for more evidence.


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