ProtectMarriage.com - Yes on 8 v. Courage Campaign, 2010 U.S. Dist. 10045 (E.D. Cal., 2010)
Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction based on trademark infringement. The court denied the injunction, holding that Plaintiff was “unlikely to overcome the conclusion that defendant’s use of the mark is protected under the first amendment, in that the use is relevant to an expressive parody and the use is not explicitly misleading.”
Plaintiff is a nonprofit corporation supporting the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California which amended the constitution to state marriage is between a man and a woman. It holds the rights to a logo featuring a silouhette of a woman in a dress and a man in pants with two children standing in between them. Defendant is a nonprofit organization that supports a right to homosexual marriage. Defendant uses Plaintiff’s logo with the adult man changed to a second woman in a dress.
Because political and artistic expression are protected by the first amendment. Defendant’s use of the mark has relevance to the expressive message in that it supports “homosexual marriages, and specifically, opposition to recent California efforts to limit the right to such marriages.” The modification to the logo by replacing the father figure with a second mother is directly related to this message. It also does not mislead as to the source of the work. Any potential confusion would be obviated by the images and texts that accompany defendant’s use of the mark.