U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden of the District of Connecticut
U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden of the District of Connecticut (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

A nonprofit organization that provides services to pregnant women in Canada and the United States is suing a Connecticut-based company for trademark infringement for using a phrase similar to its patented slogan “We Love Them Both!”

Birthright, which is based in Toronto, has more than 400 emergency pregnancy counseling centers operating under its charter throughout the United States and Canada and other jurisdictions, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on Friday. Of those centers, 10 operate in Connecticut. Birthright centers have operated in the U.S. continuously since 1968 and has, since November 1995, used the phrase “We Love Them Both!” in its promotional material.

Birthright claims the “Love Them Both” slogan used by Middletown-based Christians Alliance, Inc., is too similar to its own “We Love Them Both.” Birthright is suing for federal trademark infringement and unfair competition pursuant to the Lanham Act.

Christians Alliance launched “Love Them Both” in 2013 with other faith-based organizations, offering counseling services to pregnant women.

The nine-page lawsuit states that “it’s vitally important to Birthright to protect its marks and names from misuse and dilution in the fields of counseling pregnant women regarding pregnancy, childbirth, health and mental health issues, in order to avoid confusion as to source, affiliation, sponsorship and endorsement.”

According to the suit, Christians Alliance applied in August 2016 for federal registration of “Love Them Both” with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The office turned down Christians Alliance’s request on Dec. 10 because “of likelihood of confusion with the mark of Birthright’s registration.”

Nevertheless, the Middletown company continued to use the phrase in its marketing efforts according to the suit. Birthright claims they sent several correspondence to the defendant that have gone unanswered.

Birthright states it’s seeking unspecified monetary damages and claims that continued use of the “Love Them Both” phrase by Christians Alliance is causing it “irreparable injury.”

Birthright is represented by three U.S. attorneys. They are Elizabeth A. Alquist of the Hartford firm Day Pitney LLP, and Roberta Jacobs-Meadway and Christina D. Frangiosa of the Philadelphia-based Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. Alquist was not available for comment. Frangiosa declined comment and Jacobs-Meadway referred all comment to Louise Summerhill, an attorney and co-president of Birthright. Summerhill wasn’t available for comment Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Christians Alliance had not assigned an attorney to the case. No one could be reached at its offices Tuesday.

Judge Victor A. Bolden will preside over the case.