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Allard Enterprises, Inc. v. Advanced Programming Resources, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
146 F.3d 350 (1998)


Facts

Barry Heagren (defendant) and Charles Allard were both employed by AGS Information Systems (AGS), a company that placed contract workers in the computer and data processing fields. AGS sometimes used the mark “APR” in connection with its services, but it eventually abandoned the mark in 1988. In 1989, Heagren started Advanced Programming Resources, Inc. (Advanced Programming Resources) (defendant), a company that offered employee-placement services similar to those offered by AGS. Heagren referred to his company, Advanced Programming Resources, by its acronym, APR. In 1993, Allard left AGS and started Allard Enterprises, Inc. (Allard Enterprises) (plaintiff), which was also an employee-placement business. Allard began using the mark APR OF OHIO on behalf of Allard Enterprises in 1994. By 1996, Allard had registered the mark APR OF OHIO with both the state of Ohio and the federal government. Allard Enterprises sued Advanced Programming Resources and Heagren, alleging trademark infringement and seeking to stop Heagren from using the APR mark. At trial, Heagren provided evidence that he had used the APR mark several times on letterhead and resumes while attempting to place employees or generate business prior to Allard’s 1994 use of the APR Ohio mark. The district court concluded that there was sufficient evidence that Heagren had used the APR mark commercially and continuously before Allard registered it or started using it in 1994, giving Heagren ownership rights in the mark. For this reason, the district court granted permanent injunctive relief to the Heagren and Advanced Programming Resources. Allard Enterprises appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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