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National Association for Healthcare Communications, Inc. v. Central Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
257 F.3d 732 (2001)


The National Association for Healthcare Communications, Inc. (Healthcom) (plaintiff) provided emergency-response services. Healthcom marketed its services under the mark “CareLink.” Beginning in 1992, Healthcom marketed its CareLink services in Arkansas. However, from 1992 through late 1995, Healthcom only made one sale in Arkansas. Then, between late 1995 and July 1999, Healthcom acquired 350 subscribers in Arkansas. Without any knowledge of Healthcom’s CareLink mark, in early 1995, the Central Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (Central Arkansas) (defendant) registered the CareLink mark with the Arkansas Secretary of State and began using the mark. Healthcom had no clients in the six-county region of Arkansas where Central Arkansas operated. In late 1995, Healthcom and Central Arkansas became aware of each other’s use of the CareLink mark. Healthcom then sued Central Arkansas for trademark infringement. Both Healthcom and Central Arkansas claimed the other party should stop using the CareLink mark. The district court ruled that Central Arkansas held prior ownership rights to the CareLink mark in the six-county area because Central Arkansas had used the mark there for business. Additionally, because Central Arkansas had registered the CareLink mark with the state of Arkansas, the district court held that Healthcom could not use the CareLink mark anywhere in Arkansas. Healthcom appealed.

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