Legal Battle Over Who Must Dump the Name Trump
NEW YORK (AP) _ Billionaire Donald Trump sued in federal court Friday to ensure that when you hear the words ″Trump Shuttle,″ you think airline - not moving company.
Trump, who bought strike bound Eastern Airline’s shuttle service and plans to re-launch it as the ″Trump Shuttle,″ won a court order temporarily barring a Washington-based company from using the same name.
U.S. District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram issued a temporary restraining order barring International Trading and Finance Corp. Ltd. and its owner, Michael Fracassi, from using the disputed name until at least later this month, when another hearing is scheduled in Manhattan.
Fracassi, who registered the mark Trump Shuttle for a moving and storage subsidiary of ITFC in New York state and is seeking federal trademark registration, said earlier this week that the name is his, and Trump is the interloper.
Fracassi said the name stemmed from the company’s slogan, ″Play your trump card - use the Trump Shuttle.″
But Trump, owner of a Manhattan office and shopping tower, Atlantic City casino and a very large yacht - all bearing his name - claimed ITFC and Fracassi misappropriated his family name for ″commercial gain, personal profit and unjust enrichment.″
The lawsuit went on to point out that with hotels, casinos and even an international bicycle race named for him, ″the Trump name and mark have become synonymous with the very best″ and ″project goodwill of enormous value.″
According to court papers, Trump agreed to purchase Eastern’s Washington to New York to Boston air shuttle in October 1988 and incorporated under the name Trump Shuttle Inc. a month later in New York.
But the deal was held up after Eastern was hit with a crippling strike and filed for bankruptcy reorganization in March.
Meanwhile, ITFC registered the Trump Shuttle mark in New York in April and filed for rights to the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company, which moves and stores artworks, is also listed in the Washington telephone directory as ″Trump Shuttle.″
The $365 million airline sale to Trump was approved by a federal bankruptcy judge May 25 and was scheduled to close next week.
The June 16 hearing will determine if Friday’s restraining order against ITFC should remain in effect until the legal battle is resolved.