Nonprofit Agriculture Organizations in Okla. Clash over Name

Article excerpt

An Oklahoma agriculture-supporting organization is being sued over the acronym part of its name - FARM, or Farming and Ranching Matters, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court this week.

The nonprofit Oklahoma FARM Foundation is infringing on the trademark identity of the Illinois-based Farm Foundation, which is also a nonprofit organization that helps the industry, according to the lawsuit. As they both compete for providing educational, charitable and scientific programs, agriculture research and policy reports in Oklahoma, the Farm Foundation wants the FARM Foundation to stop using the name.

The Farm Foundation has been using the name since 1933 in connection with its services, the plaintiff's attorney Martin Ozinga said. The mark is nationally recognized for its public charity work toward fostering deeper understanding of issues shaping the future of agriculture, food systems and rural areas. The organization also provides information on economic and public policy issues through conferences, workshops and forums. The plaintiff is led by a board of directors with six members from different states.

"Plaintiff's Farm Foundation mark, by virtue of its substantial use, has acquired great value as an identification of plaintiff's goods and services, and has become famous to consumers as identifying those goods and services," according to the lawsuit.

The FARM Foundation, on the other hand, was just launched in June last year by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau to promote awareness about agriculture and the food industry through research and educational programs in the state and on the Internet. …