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Words to live by: Don’t go stepping on an intellectual property firm’s logo. In October, New York-based Collen IP sued the American Bar Association for trademark infringement, alleging that the nation’s largest professional association for attorneys cribbed the colors and style of Collen’s green-and-blue C-mark. Collen’s lawyers were dismayed at what they described as two “confusingly similar” emblems, one used by the firm, and the other, by the ABA’s International Law section, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Later this month, the two parties are scheduled to reconcile their differences in mediation. Collen, which counts Swatch, Yves Saint Laurent, and the Andy Warhol Foundation among its clients, registered the mark in 2001. The ABA first started using its logo in 2004, but it is not registered with the Trademark Office. Sidley Austin’s Michael Hunseder represented the ABA until Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ordered the case into mediation in February. (Bruce McDonald, a partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis took over last week.) In court documents, Hunseder says that the ABA’s cosmic-themed logo � it looks like a crescent moon, encircled by Saturn’s rings � is far afield of Collen’s coiled C-logo. (For instance, the ABA’s version is framed by a rectangular rather than square border.) “The spherical shape combined with the colors create a substantial likelihood of confusion,” counters Matthew Wagner, a lawyer at Collen handling the case (and a member of the ABA). “We want them to change the mark.”
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at

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