Big Oil Accused of ‘Fracking’ a Trademark

SAN JOSE (CN) – There’s Choose Energy, an “online marketplace” that helps consumers compare energy suppliers. Then there’s Choose Energy, funded by the American Petroleum Institute, a major lobbying group for Big Oil.
     Confusing? Choose Energy thinks so. The online service sued the American Petroleum Institute on Aug. 10 in Federal Court, alleging trademark violations, false designation and unfair competition.
     Choose Energy claims that API misappropriated its trademarks for a promotional campaign that is biased toward the oil and natural gas industries.
     Choose Energy’s website can be found at www.chooseenergy.com , while API’s is at www.chooseenergy.org .
     Choose Energy calls itself “energy unbiased” – that customers associate it with a choice to support clean and renewable energy sources as well as traditional sources.
     “API is ‘fracking’ Choose Energy’s brand and is likely to cause confusion, mistake, and to deceive consumers as to the affiliation, connection, or association of API with Choose Energy,” the lawsuit states.
     “Numerous confused customers have already contacted Choose Energy in the mistaken belief that it is affiliated with API’s one-sided fossil fuel agenda, to the detriment of Choose Energy’s reputation.”
     Choose Energy seeks an injunction and damages for trademark violations, unfair competition, business code violations, API’s profits from the campaign, and treble damages for the “egregious and exceptional nature of API’s conduct.”
     It is represented by Jeffrey Faucette, with Ray Quinney & Nebeker, of Salt Lake City.

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