American College of Surgeons Says|Health Reform Opponents Defamed It

     CHICAGO (CN) – The American College of Surgeons claims that a political group used its trademarked without permission name in an advertisement against health care reform without authorization. It claims the defendant Employee Freedom Action Committee defamed it by posting its deceptive ad on YouTube.




In its federal complaint, the surgeons group demands that its name be taken off the ad, which the defendants posted on “You Tube” on Dec. 15.
The surgeons group says the video clip is “false and misleading” and that the defendants have no right to promote their political agenda with the false endorsement. And it claims that the advertisements “are likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception.”
The surgeons group says it asked the political group to remove its name from the video clip, but the committee has refused to do so.
The offensive advertisement features a scrolling list of medical groups and associations, including the college, under the title “Doctors Against Government Plan.”
The American College of Surgeons says its purpose is to promote the “study, training and practice of surgery,” and that is involved in “investigating, preparing and formulating standards of hospital administration, construction and equipment, [and] medicine and surgery.”
     The college says it has numerous trademarks on its name, which it has used since 1913.
The Employee Freedom Action Committee describes itself as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit organization fighting for fair elections in the workplace.”
     Under its “Rethink Reform” project, which is linked to its video ads, it claims to be working against government intrusion in health care.
     Critics have called the group an anti-union “corporate-funded campaign against workers’ rights.”
The American College of Surgeons seeks damages for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, deceptive trade practices and defamation. It also wants the ads removed.
The college is represented by Jonathan Froemel with Barnes & Thornburg.

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