Journal risks all in fight to use name Leonardo

September 29, 2000

A lawsuit is threatening the future of a journal that for nearly 30 years has provided a forum for artists who use science and technology in their work.

Paris-based financial company Transasia Corporation is suing the Leonardo journal because it says that it has registered the name Leonardo as a trademark. It is claiming more than $1 million in damages for trademark infringement and loss of business.

The journal is published by the MIT Press for Association Leonardo (a non-profit-making organisation based in Paris) and its sister group, Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) in San Francisco.

Transasia wants Association Leonardo to be prevented from using the word Leonardo in any of its products and services.

Association Leonardo said Transasia was basing its claim on the fact that typing Leonardo into a search engine brings up Association Leonardo's website as well as its own, causing loss of business.

Roger Malina, chairman of Leonardo/ISAST, said the organisation would fight the lawsuit and challenge the US trademark claim on the word Leonardo.

"Perhaps Transasia thought we would give up and then they could use this to try to go after other companies and organisations that use the word Leonardo," he said.

In trademark infringement cases, high costs often prohibit smaller organisations from fighting suits.

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