Debt Firm Settles With Clearview FCU Over Name
Clearview Federal Credit Union said a Florida debt settlement firm has agreed to change its name after the cooperative filed a suit claiming trademark infringement.
Clearview Credit has changed its name back to Debt Reduction America Inc. In January 2009, Debt Reduction America changed its name with the Florida Secretary of State to Clearview Credit, the CU's complaint noted. Calls to the debt settlement firm were not returned.
Matt Pritchard, the attorney representing the $625 million Clearview FCU, told Credit Union Times that both parties were pleased with the outcome. Pritchard did not provide details of the agreement.
"We were able to amicably resolve the trademark suit with Clearview Credit," Pritchard said. "[Clearview FCU] is entirely satisfied with the resolution of the matter."
The CU first learned of the Tampa, Fla.-based debt settlement company after members came into the branches with mailers from Clearview Credit. Members had asked if the CU endorsed the firm or if it had expanded into debt settlement services, according to the CU's May 20 complaint.
A search on the Florida Department of State's website of both Clearview Credit and Debt Reduction America revealed the same company information including principal address, registered agent and annual reports.
Clearview FCU had previously submitted trademark registration proof to Clearview Credit as well as to Credit Union Times indicating that it is the owner of the registered marks Clearview and Clearview Federal Credit Union. According to the complaint, the debt settlement company has used the mark Clearview Credit with the sale of its financial and debt relief services and promotional materials outside of Florida. The CU has more than 79,000 members in all 50 states including thousands in Florida, the complaint noted.
The CU was originally charted in 1953 to serve Allegheny Airlines, which changed its name in 1979 to US Airways. The CU followed suit with a new moniker, USAir Federal Credit Union, and in 1997 became US Airways Federal Credit Union. After expanding to a community charter, the CU changed its name again to Clearview FCU in 2004.