German Chambers of Commerce Start Blitzkrieg in California Court.

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2009 -- A german association with a longstanding presence in the United States declared war today against two individuals and an organization calling itself the German American Chamber of Commerce California Inc.

The complaint filed today was filed by the Deutchser Industrie-Und Handelskammertag (DIUH), which translates into the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the German American Chamber of Commerce IP Holdings, Inc. and the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

The plaintiffs, through predecessors in interest, has been in the business of offering chamber of commerce services since 1959, specifically in promoting trade relations between the U.S. and Germany and disseminating information regarding trade and commerce between these nations.

DIUH registered the mark GERMAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE in 2004 with the U.S. government. The registration and relevant application relied upon by DIUH cites a date a first use of October 1, 1980, but the complaint filed with the court states the true date of first use is January 1, 1959.

A California corporation named German American Chamber of Commerce California Inc. has been styled a defendant in the case along with two individuals, Steve & Peggy Fleming. The Flemings incorporated the California organization in November, 2003.

The primary purpose of trademark infringement laws is to prevent consumer confusion regarding the source of goods and services. The first party to use a trademark may prohibit other parties from using a mark subsequently on connection with similar goods or services if it so resembles the original mark as to cause confusion. If the later mark is so similar, it is deemed to infringe on the prior mark.

The complaint contains causes of action for trademark infringement and unfair competition and seeks compensatory damages and an injunction prohibiting continued use of the mark by the Californian organization.

An issue in the case may be whether it was reasonable for the plaintiffs to bring suit nearly six years after the defendants began operating. The equitable defense of laches can prevent a claimant from obtaining relief in the event the claimant delayed unreasonably in enforcing their rights.

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