One D.C. 'Monument' firm sues another in lobbying trademark tiff

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
  • Monument Advocacy asks D.C. federal court for declaration that its name doesn't infringe any marks
  • Competitor Monument Strategies says "there is too much confusion"

(Reuters) - Monument Advocacy, a lobbying firm whose clients include Netflix Inc and Starbucks Corp, has sued rival Monument Strategies in Washington, D.C., federal court in a trademark dispute over their names.

Monument Advocacy's lawsuit filed on Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeks an order blocking Monument Strategies from taking any steps to force Monument Advocacy to change its name.

In its complaint, Monument Advocacy said it holds trademarks for "Monument Advocacy" and "Monument Policy Group." The firm has used Monument Advocacy since 2019 and Monument Policy Group (MPG) since 2006. Monument Strategies was founded in 2005.

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Monument Strategies founder Jonathan Alexander declined to comment on Monday, saying he had not yet been served the complaint.

In a February email included as an exhibit to the lawsuit, Alexander wrote to Monument Advocacy that "there is too much confusion on your new name. Advocacy is too much close to 'strategies'. Case law is on my side. You're going to have to change your name."

Monument Advocacy's lawyer, Michael Steger, declined to comment.

The complaint said Monument Strategies was aware of "the Monument Policy Group trademark since at least 2007, yet Strategies failed to challenge or otherwise object to MPG's use of said trademark."

The firm said it has "invested significant resources in developing and maintaining" its trademarks.

In 2021, Monument Advocacy recorded about $10.3 million in U.S. lobbying revenue, compared with about $262,000 identified by Monument Strategies for the same period, according to data at the nonpartisan OpenSecrets program of Center for Responsive Politics.

Monument Strategies' clients include The National ATM Council Inc and leaf tobacco merchant Alliance One International LLC.

Alexander said last month in a letter to Monument Advocacy, included as an exhibit to the lawsuit, that it should "promptly cease the use of Monument Advocacy" in D.C. and elsewhere. He said his company "has acquired and developed valuable rights in its name that repeatedly have been, and continue to be, infringed by your use of the name Monument Advocacy."

Monument Advocacy's complaint said "Strategies has not been damaged, and will not in the future be damaged, by MPG's use of the Monument trademarks."

The case is Monument Policy Group LLC v. Monument Strategies LLC, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:22-cv-00976.

For plaintiff: Michael Steger of Law Offices of Michael D. Steger

For defendant: No appearance yet

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