Cancel all “Entrepreneur of the Year” Awards

By Startup Issues

Ernst & Young LLP filed a complaint yesterday in federal court against Entrepreneur Media, Inc. (publisher of Entrepreneur Magazine) alleging that Entrepreneur Media is infringing upon Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” trademark registered with the USPTO.

For more than 20 years, Ernst & Young has bestowed an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award upon successful and innovative business leaders in the United States and around the world. Prior winners include Michael Dell (Dell), Steve Case (AOL), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), and John Mackey (Whole Foods).

In the complaint, Ernst & Young alleges that Entrepreneur Media first infringed in 1994. At that time, Ernst & Young objected in writing and Entrepreneur Media stopped using the phrase “Entrepreneur of the Year” in conjunction with a contest. In fact, Entrepreneur Media’s corporate counsel at the time thanked Ernst & Young’s counsel for “bringing the matter to Entrepreneur Media’s attention.” This 1994 letter is now Exhibit 2 of the 2008 complaint.

Now, Entrepreneur Media is currently running a 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year contest. And just like 14 years ago, Ernst & Young sent Entrepreneur a ceast & desist letter. But this time, Entrepreneur Media rejected Ernst & Young’s demand to stop using the phrase.

Enter lawsuit.

Ernst & Young seeks a permanent injunction, destruction of all Entrepreneur Media materials related to their contest, an order directing the USPTO to cancel Entrepreneur’s Media’s registrations, Entrepreneur Media’s profits from the use of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” mark, damages, attorneys’ fees, and any other relief the Court deems proper.

Like reading legal complaints? Click here to get the PDF of EY’s complaint.

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