involved in a trademark row with the State of Louisiana, an online service that assists American citizens to develop petitions, has a slogan that reads “Democracy in Action,” and the site aims to encourage participation in the democratic process with the purpose of ordaining change. The service company is getting a taste of its own medicine as it has been slapped with a trademark infringement case by the state of Louisiana.

Like, the state of Louisiana also has a slogan, particularly a tourism slogan: “Pick your passion!”, and this is the intellectual property that Lt. Governor (and Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism) Jay Dardenne has accused that has infringed upon.

The main point of this dispute is a billboard put up just outside of Baton Rouge. The billboard, which is sponsored by MoveOn, criticizes Bobby Jindal’s policies that would withhold Medicaid access to thousands of residents in Louisiana. The text in the hoarding reads: “LOU!SIANA Pick your passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal’s denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”

Lt. Gov. Dardenne is seeking an injunction from the court, on the ground that the billboard uses several important features of the registered service marks such as the colours, the phrasing, the use of the exclamation point in place of the letter “I”, and also a picture of a plate of crawfish claimed to have been taken from the state’s website.

The lawyers for do not think that there is any violation of trademark law, as the billboard should be protected under the First Amendment, which in fact is true for several reasons. First, trademark violations can be considered only if the consumers might get confused by the use of trademarked material, but this is not case here as it is unlikely that the viewers of this billboard will think that the Louisiana tourism board erected it. Also, there is the issue of free speech as the billboard is evidently satirical speech directed at blaming the government of the state.

MoveOn has stated in its website that it will leave the billboard up even if it has to go to the Supreme Court about it.

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