Miami-Dade County

FIU loses appeal in trademark lawsuit against Florida National University

Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University, speaks at the Modesto Maidique Campus in University Park. On Tuesday, the school lost an appeal in a trademark-infringement lawsuit against Florida National University.
Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University, speaks at the Modesto Maidique Campus in University Park. On Tuesday, the school lost an appeal in a trademark-infringement lawsuit against Florida National University. FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

In a ruling Tuesday, a federal appeals court rejected a trademark-infringement lawsuit filed by Florida International University against Florida National University after the latter school changed its name, the News Service of Florida reported.

FIU first filed the lawsuit after Florida National University, a for-profit school in Miami-Dade County, changed its name from Florida National College in 2012. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of Florida National University; FIU appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the News Service.

In a 50-page ruling Tuesday, an appeals court panel upheld the court’s decision, citing 12 other schools in the state using the words “Florida” and “University” in their name and different definitions of the words “international” and “national.”

“Moreover, in a crowded field of similar acronyms, the district court reasonably found that the addition of one more school identifying itself with an acronym containing the letters F and U would not materially add to the confusion," said the appeals-court ruling, written by Judge Stanley Marcus and joined by Senior Judge Joel Dubina and Judge Michael Melloy, the News Service reported. “This is especially true in a field like post-secondary education, where the primary consumers —potential students [and likely their parents too] — generally spend a substantial amount of time and energy learning about their options before choosing a school and are, therefore, unlikely to be confused by similar names."

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