San Francisco moves court over Oakland airport name change

Alleges false designation of origin in ‘San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport’
/ New Delhi
San Francisco moves court over Oakland airport name change

San Francisco International Airport is the largest airport on the West Coast of United States

Two airports and their cities in the United States are caught up in an unseemly battle over their names as Oakland changes name of its airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.
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A trademark protection battle has broken out in California as San Francisco City has moved the court seeking injunction against the neighbouring city of Oakland for changing the name of its airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

San Francisco is home to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which is the largest airport on the West Coast of United States. Its attorneys say that the new name adopted by Oakland is a ‘false designation of origin’.

“The Metropolitan Oakland International Airport seeks to increase passengers and profits by rushing to unlawfully incorporate San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) trademarked name into its own. Oakland Airport’s actions ignore SFO’s longstanding protected mark, brand, and identity, violate federal and state intellectual property law, and disregard the legal infringement and consumer confusion its actions create. Oakland Airport’s hasty and unnecessary efforts and refusal to engage in discussions of alternative names have left the City and County of San Francisco no choice but to bring this complaint against Defendant City of Oakland, acting by and through its Board of Port Commissioners for federal trademark infringement and false designation of origin and unfair competition,” says the suit filed by San Francisco against the city that is located on the eastern coast of the San Francisco Bay, literally opposite San Francisco.

In response, the Port of Oakland attorney Mary Richardson says travellers know the San Francisco Bay Area well enough to realise that “San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport” is located in Oakland.

“SFO cannot lay claim to the geographically-descriptive term ‘San Francisco,’ let alone claim exclusive rights to the San Francisco Bay,” Richardson says.

“The Port trusts that travellers understand that the San Francisco Bay, like virtually every other major metropolitan area throughout the world, can contain more than one airport. The Port will take all reasonable measures to ensure clarity for travellers with respect to OAK’s geographic location and distinctiveness,” adds Richardson.

But David Chiu, attorney of San Francisco maintains that the city of Oakland is trying to lure more visitors by incorporating the name change. “This new name will cause confusion and chaos for travellers, which will damage the travel industry for the entire region,” says Chiu.

“Defendant’s proposal to include ‘San Francisco’ at the front of its new name, closely followed by the words ‘International Airport’ is problematic, as it will almost certainly cause confusion among consumers and the public generally. Travellers will very likely be confused and book tickets to the unintended airport,” says the complaint filed by San Francisco.

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