Trademark Laches: It's "Greek" To Me

by Tamera H. BennettApril 23, 2008

Forty-seven years ago Thomas Kenneth Abraham d/b/a Paddle Tramps started selling keepsakes to sororities and fraternities, featuring Greek letters and house insignia. Now the Greeks are saying stop it.

A lawsuit in Southern Florida, naming Abraham as one of seven defendants, was dismissed April 1, 2008 because of lack of venue. There is a great article on LAW.COM with background on this case.

But, the saga continues ... Abraham filed a declaratory judgment action in the Northern District of Texas on April 3, 2008 against 67 defendants. Who knew there were that many Greek organizations? Cut the number in half because the sorority/fraternity was sued as an unincorporated association along with the corporate organization for each sorority/fraternity.

Abraham seeks a declaration from the court on non-infringement on several grounds, but I think this may be his best argument:

Plaintiff [Abraham/Paddle Tramps] further requests a declaratory judgment from this Court that the Defendants' failure to control the use of their alleged marks for decades by Paddle Tramps and others not only negates any likelihood of confusion, but this conduct along with other action or inaction by Defendants bars any claims against Paddle Tramps for infringement.

Abraham is represented by Dallas attorney Molly Richard.

Abraham v. Alpha Chi Omega et al Assigned to: Judge Reed C O'Connor Cause: 28:2201 Declaratory Judgment Filed April 1, 2008 Northern District of Texas, Dallas