Robert Namer had a Louisiana business that used the name “Voice of America,” and encountered intellectual property trouble with the Voice of America information service operated by the U.S. Government. (Incidentally, I recommend some study of the VOA’s “Simple English” programming, which uses a 1,500-word vocabulary, for anyone interested in straightforward writing.) Namer lost at trial and challenged the VOA’s audience survey on appeal. The Fifth Circuit affirmed: “It was appropriate for [the VOA’s expert] to survey potential consumers of Namer’s website to determine if they might be confused into believing they were viewing the website of the government-run VOA (and 19.1% of them were confused.)” The Court also rejected a laches argument because Namer did not show prejudice; “[c]ontinued routine use of the website during the time when the Board allegedly sat on its rights is all that Namer has established.” Namer v. Voice of America, No. 14-31353 (Oct. 26, 2015, unpublished). The opinion helpfully summarizes recent Circuit authority on both the survey and laches issues.
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