Louisiana Sues MoveOn.org Over Trademark

Image: Louisiana Sues MoveOn.org Over Trademark From left: Kix Brooks, Joel Savoy, Maggie Warwick, Victoria Williams, Shannon McNally, Wayne Toups, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Corey Ledet and James Adams gather at the Only in Louisiana pre-Grammy brunch on Feb. 9 in Los Angeles.

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 06:21 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Louisiana Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is taking MoveOn.org to court for allegedly infringing on the state's "Pick Your Passion" trademark, The Times Picayune reported.

Left-leaning MoveOn.org is playing off the state tourism slogan in a billboard campaign aimed at pressuring Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal to allow the state to participate in expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Jindal warns that the program would sooner or later become unaffordable.

The lieutenant governor is a candidate for governor in 2016 when term limits will require Jindal to step down. By law he is also the commissioner of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Louisiana lieutenant governors are not elected as part of a ticket with the governor.

MoveOn.org responded with derision to Dardenne's earlier efforts asking the group to cease its ad campaign, according to the Times Picayune.

In a statement accompanying the lawsuit, Dardenne said the state had "invested millions of dollars in identifying the Louisiana: Pick Your Passion brand with all that is good about Louisiana. No group should be allowed to use the brand for its own purposes, especially if it is for partisan political posturing."

The lawsuit claims that MoveOn.org's advocacy campaign is causing "irreparable harm, injury and damages" to Louisiana tourism office by using font, pictures, artwork and colors that mimic the "Pick Your Passion" brand.

One MoveOn.org billboard ad greets visitors on I-10 near Baton Rouge with a lampoon of the official "Pick Your Passion" campaign: "LOU!SIANA Pick your passion! But hope you don't love your health. Gov. Jindal's denying Medicaid to 242,000 people."

Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said the group's attorneys hadn't yet reviewed the lawsuit but that "if press reports are accurate, it is very sad to see the state spend taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit instead of providing health care to the people of Louisiana."

Dardenne said that Baton Rouge attorney Dale Baringer would take on the case pro bono for the lieutenant governor's office.

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