Judge Dumps Trademark Suit Against Big Oil

     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge dismissed energy marketplace Choose Energy’s lawsuit accusing big oil of “fracking” its trademark in political ads.
     Choose Energy sued lobbying group American Petroleum Institute last October for allegedly misappropriating its trademark when it used the phrase “Choose Energy” in an ad campaign that backed pro-oil and pro-gas candidates in the 2014 election.
     Choose Energy – which helps people choose energy suppliers and calls its “energy unbiased” – owns the website www.chooseenergy.com, while API’s was www.chooseenergy.org.
     The company sought a temporary restraining order to shut API’s website down days before the election, but U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal denied it, finding that the company and lobbying group do not compete with each other.
     API filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last November.
     Grewal found for the lobbying group on Wednesday, writing that “none of Choose Energy’s claims pass muster.”
     The judge ruled that Choose Energy can amend its complaint, “because the court is not yet persuaded that amendment of the federal claims would be futile.”
     However, the state-law claims are more complicated, and Grewal ordered the companies to confer on whether an amendment is warranted.
     Choose Energy released a statement through its attorney Michael Erickson with Salt Lake City-based Ray Quinney & Nebeker saying: “Choose Energy is currently evaluating its options and the impact of the opinion on the rights of trademark owners.”
     “My client is pleased with the outcome,” said API’s attorney Scott Mosko, in an email to Courthouse News. Mosko is with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner in Palo Alto, Calif.
     Contact Arvin Temkar at sanfran@courthousenews.com.

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