The $550 million Michigan First Credit Union said today it is moving forward with a suit against First Michigan Bancorp Inc. for trademark infringement.
The CU alleged that the bank's use of the First Michigan Bank name is "in conscious disregard of Michigan First's trademark rights and creates a likelihood of public confusion, in which consumers seeking Michigan First's services will be diverted to the bank, and/or will erroneously believe that the services offered by the bank are offered, sponsored, or endorsed by Michigan First, when in fact they are not." The CU filed the suit May 12.
Michigan First said it has obtained and consistently used several registered service marks since changing its name from Detroit Teachers Credit Union to Michigan First Credit Union in April 2001. These service marks include the credit union's name, Michigan First Credit Union, as well as a variety of products and services including its Michigan First MoneyWorks Banking Centers ATMs and Michigan First Wealth Management Group for its financial and estate planning services. In addition, there are a number of Michigan First branded websites and social media channels.
"These registered service marks are used extensively in our member communication and promotions, creating strong recognition with both our members and the public," said Michael Poulos, president/CEO of Michigan First. "We have taken all the necessary actions to protect these assets, which are consistently used for all of our banking and other financial services, and we will continue to take all necessary actions to protect them."
A comment from First Michigan Bancorp was not immediately available.