U.S. Chamber Files Civil Complaint to Protect Trademark and Intellectual Property from Unlawful Use

Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today filed a civil complaint (PDF) in federal district court to protect its trademarks and other intellectual property from unlawful use by the "Yes Men" and others in furtherance of their various commercial enterprises. The "Yes Men" and their associates misappropriated the Chamber's logo and other protected marks; created a fraudulent Web site that was an exact replica of and linked to the Chamber's actual site; and falsely claimed to be speaking as the Chamber under the Chamber's copyright.

The lawsuit was filed after lawyers representing the "Yes Men" refused to decommission the fraudulent Web site, in another bold attempt to increase sales of merchandise and tickets to their new movie. The Chamber's complaint is a customary response by any organization faced with this type of misconduct by the defendants.

"The Chamber is a strong proponent of free speech and encourages public debate on issues of the day," said Steven Law, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "However, the law is clear that you can't misappropriate others' intellectual property for personal financial gain."

"The defendants are not merry pranksters tweaking the establishment. Instead, they deliberately broke the law in order to further commercial interest in their books, movies, and other merchandise. Ironically and unfortunately, this lawsuit might even help in that regard, but these acts are nothing less than commercial identity theft masquerading as social activism and must be stopped.

"We are confident that we have strong legal claims and that this is an appropriate response to protect our intellectual property rights."

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

View the complaint (PDF)

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