This week in ‘petty clash’

by Walter Pierce

It’s United Way versus schoolmarms in an epic trademark battle. Caught in the crossfire: the innocent chirrens!

In the blue corner wearing the charity shorts, United Way. In the red corner noshing an apple, the Lafayette Parish School System.

Let us now mix some metaphors: United Way Worldwide is taking off the gloves against the LPSS, threatening to punch the school system with a trademark lawsuit if it doesn’t jettison the name of a program that provides training to teachers and child-care providers of pre-K children in the parish.

The LPSS’s program, Success by 5 Alliance, has a similar name to United Way Worldwide’s long-established Success by 6 early childhood-development initiative. United Way has a federal trademark for Success by 6 and is warning the LPSS not to even try to trademark Success by 5 Alliance because the two sound too similar and will likely confuse 3-year-olds and adults.

The LPSS hired an outside firm to represent it, and according to an account in The Advertiser:

Barring a settlement or agreement between the two parties, the matter could linger in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for more than a year, according to a timeline provided in the documents. The school board has until Sept. 16 to issue a formal answer to the United Way’s opposition, thus setting off a potentially lengthy process of discovery, disclosures and rebuttals.

Read more here, but be warned: You cannot un-read it.