Pubic Typo at Center of Federal Action for TM Infringement, Breach of Contract, Etc.

GREENSBORO, May 29, 2009 -- Education supply company Carolina Biological Supply Company filed suit today against its publisher when materials were distributed with the typo "pubic" instead of the correct word "public."

Since 1927, Carolina Biological Supply Company ("CBSC")has provided products and services to science and math educators, museums and institutions that support the teaching of math and science. CBSC entered into a six-year publishing agreement with Ohio-based Zula USA, LLC.

Apparently after receiving a document edited and approved for publication, Zula USA, LLC substituted the word "pubic" for "public" and then distributed the material before corrective measures could be taken. The relationship between the parties deteriorated and Zula USA, LLC's declared their intention to end their contractual relationship prematurely, according to the complaint filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Also named as a defendant are Zula, Ltd. and Deborah Manchester, believed to own the controlling interest in both Zula USA, LLC and Zula, Ltd. The later began its corporate existence in 1998 by initially offering decorative covers for casts before expanding other products and services. Zula, Ltd. is probably best known for its web site Zula.com which provided web-based interactive, educational materials.

Per the terms of the publishing agreement, Zula USA, LLC was prohibited from advertising or selling CBSC materials when the agreement was breached or after the contractual term expired.

CBSC also alleges their relationship was exclusively with Zula USA, LLC with only Zula USA, LLC licensed to use the registered trademarks of CBSC. Yet, Manchester and Zula, Ltd are accused of using the marks CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL SUPPLY COMPANY, CAROLINA, CAROLINA CURRICULUM, and CADET without authorization.

Allegedly, Manchester and Zula Ltd. collaborated create a virtual world accessed through domains owned by Manchester and Zula Ltd. on which materials created by CBSC were advertised and sold without CBSC's permission.

Lastly, Manchester and Zula Ltd are accused of not paying outstanding invoices from CBSC and soliciting CBSC employee information from a CBSC consultant in an effort to recruit.

CBSC argues that the defendants advertising, distribution and sale of products bearing the federally registered CBSC trademark is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception regarding the origin of the goods and services; and therefore, constitutes trademark infringement.

CBSC also argues that the defendants use of the CBSC marks will cause trademark dilution. Trademark dilution laws protect the property interest in a trademark with its "uniqueness" and the good will associated therein.

In addition to claims of trademark infringement and trademark dilution, the complaint also has counts based on breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, trade secret violations, and civil conspiracy.

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