Company Files Action against Obama’s MyRA Plan Alleging Trademark Infringement
Orange County – A company that markets individual retirement accounts has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the U.S. government due to the use of the term “myRA” in connection with a savings account program proposed by President Obama for individuals who have just started saving up for retirement. The Kentucky-based company, My Retirement Account Services, LLC, has a registered trademark since 2011 for “GetMyRA.com” to use for its marketing of self-direct individual retirement accounts.
In January, the U.S. Department of Treasury sought to trademark “myRA” for a retirement savings program that will help people invest through special Roth IRAs. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued an office action refusing to register the trademark because GetMyRA.com already exists. The U.S. Treasury has until Nov. 13 to respond to this action by the USPTO.
My Retirement Account Services applied for a second trademark “MYRA” on June 10, 2014. It filed the lawsuit Oct. 7th alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition saying that the similar trademarks would create confusion in the minds of consumers. The company also stated in its complaint that barely an hour after President Obama’s State of the Union address where he first announced the savings program, their GetMyRA.com website experienced a 1400 percent jump in visitors from the hour before.
It is not known how many hits the site got. But it does say that the day after Obama made the announcement, the page views increased dramatically. The company claims that it will suffer damage to its business and reputation because its customers will become confused by the source of the U.S. government’s services. My Retirement Account Services has sought an injunction against the U.S. Treasury, unspecified damages and the destruction of all materials that utilize its trademark.
The government’s program hasn’t taken off yet, but it does have a website. The program is geared toward people who have just started saving money for retirement and don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, such as a 401K. The program is expected to launch later this year.
So far, the Treasury Department has refused to comment on the matter. But an attorney for My Retirement Account Services has said that the company has invested considerably in developing its business under the myRA trademark. They are hoping that the matter is resolved expeditiously.
Posted in: Trademark Infringement