On Tuesday, Delta Health Center Inc. (DHC) filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Mississippi against Delta Regional Medical Center (DRMC). The plaintiff claimed the defendant is guilty of trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition under the Federal Trademark Act of 1946. The plaintiff said the defendants used marks that are nearly identical in sound, name, connotation, appearance, and manner of use in comparison to DHC marks.
The filing alleges that DRMC used numerous DHC marks long after the plaintiff had started to use and promote these marks throughout various advertising mediums. DHC said that this shared use of the marks “Delta Health” and “Delta Health Center” resulted in customer confusion, dilution, and irreversible damage to their current trademark.
The plaintiff stated that DHC has been in the community since 1965 as the first federally qualified community health center in the United States and has been providing low cost healthcare to those in need within the Mississippi Delta area. They said they have put substantial effort and capital into growing their brand familiarity and reputation throughout this community and have held these marks since 1985. The plaintiff said that the work and the positive brand identity it created has given the marks significant value and that this reputation had been built and maintained long before DRMC’s rebrand or any other date on which they may rely.
The filing states that in addition to confusingly similar names and marks, the services provided by the parties are nearly identical and are situated in the same places, which would further any possible confusions on the part of potential patients. It also states that DRMC had full knowledge of the trademarks and the possible damage and confusion it may cause but chose to continue without consent despite those facts. Since DHC had previously applied to register trademarks and patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, DRMC should have had a concrete notice of the plaintiffs rights to those marks.
The plaintiffs request that the court enter a declaratory judgment that there is a likelihood of confusion, dilution, infringement, deception, unfair trade practices, and unfair competition attached with DRMC continued use of their marks. They also request compensation for these damages and any other damages that the court sees fit to compensate.