AIG faces jury trial in trademark lawsuit | Insurance coverage Enterprise America



Insurance coverage company’s long-running dispute with international insurer set to proceed

AIG faces jury trial in trademark lawsuit

Authorized Insights

Jen Frost

A protracted-running trademark lawsuit introduced by an insurance coverage company in opposition to AIG is ready to proceed with a jury trial on the horizon, a US District Court docket in Missouri has dominated.

Each plaintiff A.I.G Company and defendant AIG, the worldwide insurance coverage firm, had filed motions for abstract judgment, with AIG’s granted partially.

The trial is now slated to proceed in entrance of a jury in January, in response to the order.

“Our small household enterprise seems to be ahead to a jury trial as quickly as doable,” A.I.G Company president Gregory Wherry informed Insurance coverage Enterprise.

AIG trademark dispute – a long-running case

The dispute hinges round using the AIG title, which the insurance coverage company plaintiff claimed to have been utilizing since 1958. For its half, insurer AIG stated in court docket paperwork it has been utilizing the mark since 1968.

The insurer has had a federal trademark registration for AIG since 1981 and had despatched letters in each 1995 and 2008 requesting that the insurance coverage company drop the moniker, in response to earlier court docket paperwork.

In 2009, insurance coverage firm AIG began utilizing the title Chartis for its property & casualty (P&C) subsidiary, later reverting again to AIG in 2012.

It was round this time, the plaintiff insurance coverage company alleged, that the insurance coverage firm started promoting on to customers, allegedly turning into a “direct competitor” to A.I.G Company and resulting in customers “complicated” the 2 companies.

A.I.G Company introduced the lawsuit in 2017, with AIG having introduced counterclaims on trademark infringement, unfair competitors, and trademark dilution.

The case initially went in favour of insurance coverage firm AIG, however this was reversed by the Eighth Circuit court docket, which discovered that real disputes of fabric truth precluded abstract judgment on its laches protection, in response to the most recent court docket paperwork, dated August 16.

In accordance with the most recent ruling, AIG had sought to contend that the insurance coverage company’s declare was barred underneath equitable estoppel, and that A.I.G Company had successfully hid its claims by failing to place ahead infringement arguments “when it knew of them”.

Nevertheless, United States District Choose Sarah Pitlyk discovered that whereas cited details might present the insurance coverage company was conscious of AIG’s use of the mark, they didn’t essentially exhibit that the plaintiff knew it had a viable case within the 22 years previous to the lawsuit.

AIG additionally sought to argue that the insurance coverage company couldn’t make the “requisite displaying” that it had common-law rights to the AIG mark.

The plaintiff pointed to a 1972 newspaper article that referred to the company as AIG repeatedly, along with brochures and sponsorship supplies courting again to the Fifties, in response to the court docket doc.

“As a result of there’s real dispute about whether or not the AIG Mark is related to plaintiff within the minds of customers in Missouri and Illinois and whether or not it was so related previous to defendant’s federal registration, defendant is just not entitled to judgment as a matter of legislation that plaintiff has no legitimate and protectible common-law trademark in Missouri or Illinois,” it was stated within the ruling.

A.I.G v AIG – buyer confusion argument but to be determined

AIG additional argued that the insurance coverage company couldn’t present that the mark would possibly trigger confusion for patrons, with A.I.G Company having argued that the previous’s 2012 post-rebrand promoting splurge had triggered confusion.

“Upon overview of the components, the court docket finds that there are real disputes of fabric incontrovertible fact that stop abstract judgment on probability of confusion,” the court docket discovered.

A.I.G Company had argued that the court docket ought to grant it abstract judgment on the confusion level, with the insurance coverage firm having allegedly acknowledged a stage of confusion itself in since-withdrawn counterclaims.

Whereas the court docket discovered that telephone calls from “confused clients”, for instance, offered some proof that customers could have been confused, this was not “past dispute” as required for a abstract judgment. It additional discovered that former arguments set out by the defendant insurance coverage firm didn’t quantity to binding judicial admissions.

“There’s far more to the query of whether or not plaintiff has met the usual for displaying probability of confusion as a component of its trademark claims than the naked incontrovertible fact that plaintiff’s use of the AIG Mark has created some client confusion…,” the court docket discovered.

“Thus, even when the court docket have been to carry defendant to that concession, a number of real disputes of fabric truth would nonetheless stop abstract judgment in plaintiff’s favour on the factor of probability of confusion.”

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