Federal District Court Rules That Veterinarian’s Tradmark Action Against AVMA May Proceed

August 28, 2012

A Massachusetts veterinarian has brought suit against the American Veterinary Medical Association and others claiming that the AVMA and a group of veterinarians led by Robert Gillette, DVM, infringed on her trademark and plagiarized her copyrighted work product in the formation of a new specialty board in veterinary rehabilitation medicine.  Sheila Lyons, DVM, who recently gained notoriety when she testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in favor of legislation that would ban performance enhancing drugs in horse racing, is the owner of the Registered Trademark “The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation” (“ACVSMR”).   The lawsuit alleges that Doctor Lyons created ACVSMR in 1995 as a project associated with her not-for-profit corporation Homecoming Farm, Inc., in order to form a new specialty board in rehabilitative veterinary modeled after the analogous human medical specialty.  Doctor Lyons, who has had great success with her methods in rehabilitative veterinary medicine, has a national and international reputation and has established certain standards in the field of veterinary rehabilitative medicine, research and education which are unique.   The suit alleges that she first contacted the AVMA in 1997.  As required by the AVMA, Doctor Lyons invited five veterinarians, including Robert Gillette of Auburn University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Linda Blythe, of Oregon State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, to be part of a committee that would form the new specialty board following a model created by Doctor Lyons and based upon extensive research conducted by her in the field of veterinary rehabilitative medicine.  The suit alleges that after gaining access to her copyrighted work product, Gillette and Blythe then removed Doctor Lyons from the committee she had created in violation of AVMA protocols and then proceeded to obtain approval from the AVMA for the creation of the new specialty board relying on the model created by Doctor Lyons using her registered tradename and and falsely taking credit for her copyrighted work product with the full knowledge and participation of the AVMA.  The suit alleges, among other things, trademark and copyright infringement, misappropriation of intellectual property, loss of business opportunity, defamation and other claims.  A trial date has not yet been set.  Read the full text of the opinion Civil Action 11-12192

Be Sociable, Share!

Previous post:

Next post: