The Libertarian National Committee is moving forward with a lawsuit against one faction of the Libertarian Party of Michigan that they claim has infringed upon the Libertarian trademark.
According to the first page of the suit, the LNC states they are acting against the Michigan organization under Title 15 of the United States Code, for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, unfair competition, passing off, and unjust enrichment under 15 U.S. Code §§ 1114, and 1124(a)(1)(A). Readers may find a copy of the first page below.
Defendants named in the case include multiple board members associated with the Libertarian Party of Michigan organization in question, including Michael Saliba, Angela Thornton-Canny, Jami Van Alstine, Rafael Wold, Joseph Brungardt, Mary Buzuma, David Canny, and Greg Stempfle. In addition, the plaintiff, the Libertarian National Committee, has put forward 25 examples of evidence.
The Libertarian National Committee is moving forward with Joseph J. Zito of FRESH IP PLC, a Washington, DC-based attorney specializing in this field. Per his professional website, Zito “focuses on all aspects of intellectual property law with an emphasis on patent and trademark litigation and licensing.” The judge overseeing the case, as per PacerMonitor, is Judith Levy.
Brian Elison, a board member of the Libertarian Party of Michigan faction not named in the suit but who claims he is included in the evidence, shared his opinions on social media Monday afternoon.
“The national Libertarian Party is suing the Libertarian Party of Michigan for an alleged trademark violation,” he wrote. “They are doing this by suing individual prominent members of our board. I am not named in the suit, however I was told by a reporter at the Detroit News that a picture of me shirtless is featured prominently in the lawsuit.”
[Editorial note: two organizations operating in Michigan use the Libertarian name and branding. A separate organization led by Andrew Chadderdon and currently recognized by the Libertarian National Committee also exists and is not the one referred to in this article. Readers can learn more about the Michigan situation here.]
The issue is not there are two groups are actively competing recognition as the sole, legitimate Libertarian Party affiliate in Michigan: There is only one Libertarian Party of Michigan. The dispute arises from two groups claiming leadership of that party as the LEC. And the LNC is violating its own bylaws in interfering with the state party in formally acknowledging and financially supporting, at member expense, one of these groups over the other.
Hi Connor, thanks for reaching out!
I understand that two groups are actively competing for recognition as the sole, legitimate Libertarian Party affiliate in Michigan, with the LNC formally acknowledging one over the other. I hoped that by referring to the organization discussed in this article as a “faction,” readers would understand that multiple organizations currently use the Libertarian name. For additional clarity, a supplement has been added to reflect that a separate organization exists with LNC recognition.
None of the individuals listed as defendants are currently members of the legitimate Libertarian Party of Michigan Executive Committee.