PTA Sues Rival Parent-Teacher Organization For Trademark Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on October 12, 2012

Orange County – The National Parent Teacher Association hit School Family Media Inc. with allegations of trademark infringement in Illinois federal court Wednesday, saying its for-profit rival is falsely claiming an association with PTA.

The National PTA Board of Directors said it voted to file a lawsuit after exhausting multiple attempts to get School Family Media, the parent company of PTO Today, to voluntarily discontinue its inaccurate statements about PTA, as well as its misleading statements suggesting the company had a relationship with PTA that does not exist.
National PTA alleges that School Family Media is attempting to confuse or mislead the public into believing they have a relationship with PTA in order to procure advertising for their website and magazine.

The complaint also claims School Family Media makes false statements about PTA to encourage parent groups to leave PTA and purchase services from School Family Media as an alternative.

“PTA has no issue with any for-profit company that wants to provide products and services to PTA and its members,” National PTA President Betsy Landers said. “However, we do strenuously object to School Family Media inferring it has a relationship with PTA that does not exist and, at the same time, disparaging PTA to drive business their way.”

PTA has made repeated efforts to resolve the situation without litigation, but School Family Media has failed to amend its practices or comply with the measures it agreed to, according to PTA.

“PTA had no choice but to take legal action to protect its respected name and reputation,” Landers said. “PTA is an American icon, a charity that has worked to improve the education and well-being of children for more than 116 years.”
PTO Today claims to be the only company dedicated exclusively to providing a full suite of products, programs and services to the entire kindergarten through eighth grade school parent group market, according to its website.

“Regardless of the acronym (PTO or PTA, etc.), PTO Today is committed to helping parent group leaders serve their schools more effectively and run their groups more efficiently,” the company’s website says.

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