SEC Trademark Dispute with CaseWare over IDEA Trademark Settled

We receive myriad press releases on a daily basis from PR firms looking to leverage the reach of CCI to gain exposure for their clients.  As much as possible, we try to pass along the noteworthy news to you in the Press Releases section that you can find in the bottom right section of the sidebar.  This morning we received an interested release regarding a trademark infringement case involving the SEC that I had not heard about, but that just recently settled.

CaseWare International Inc., together with CaseWare IDEA Inc. and Audimation Services Inc., filed suit against the SEC earlier this year in March accusing the SEC of illegally using CaseWare’s IDEA trademark “in connection with software and services with similar functions as CaseWare’s IDEA data analysis software.”  The following quote is taken from a press release that CaseWare issued regarding the injunction it sought against the SEC back in March:

“Our actions result from the SEC’s surprising failure to take a responsible approach to our objections and simply find another, non-infringing trademark,” said Cal Bruner, Chief Financial Officer, CaseWare International Inc. “This failure comes at a time when the SEC can ill afford to be seen as inattentive to its image. We are prepared to pursue all available legal remedies to protect the investment in our trademark IDEA, which the SEC actions now threaten to destroy.”

Though it seems surprising that the SEC would allow itself to become the subject of such a suit, word has broken today that CaseWare has essentially won its case against the SEC, with the SEC agreeing to a settlement that with result in it discontinuing use of the IDEA trademark.  Here is the full body of the press release issued by CaseWare and Audimation Services, Inc. today:

SEC Settles Dispute with CaseWare over IDEA Trademark Houston

May 27, 2009 – CaseWare International Inc., together with CaseWare IDEA Inc. and Audimation Services, Inc., are pleased to announce that they have reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which will result in the SEC permanently discontinuing its use of the mark IDEA in any form as a trademark or other source identifier on or in connection with SEC software and related goods and services.

The settlement also provides that the SEC acknowledges that CaseWare International Inc. is the owner of Registration No. 2,423,582 of the trademark IDEA for CaseWare IDEA Software and that Registration No. 2,423,582 has attained incontestable status under § 15 of the U. S. Federal Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1065. In return for these undertakings, CaseWare has voluntarily dismissed its civil action against the SEC, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) on March 10, 2009.

“We’re satisfied with the outcome but disappointed that we had to resort to the courts for resolution,” said Cal Bruner, Chief Financial Officer, CaseWare International Inc. “While it’s unfortunate that we needed to take this action, we have demonstrated that we will aggressively defend our trademarks, regardless of the size or resources of the infringer.”

“I’ve been associated with IDEA for over 20 years,” said Bob Cuthbertson, Chief Operating Officer, CaseWare IDEA Inc. “I’m very pleased to see that all our efforts to build a powerful brand will be preserved.”

“Throughout this process, we received lots of support from our clients,” said Carolyn Newman, CEO and co-founder of Audimation Services, Inc. “The possibility of confusion in the marketplace over product names was very concerning to us; with this settlement, we can now return to building our business and creating much-needed jobs.”

About CaseWare International Inc.

CaseWare International Inc. is the world leader in business-intelligence software for accountants, auditors and other professionals. CaseWare products enable users in over 110 countries to conduct their business with unparalleled ease and efficiency. www.caseware.com

About CaseWare IDEA Inc.

CaseWare IDEA Inc. is a software development and marketing company with offices in Toronto and Ottawa, Canada, and distributor partners serving more than 90 countries. CaseWare IDEA Inc. is a subsidiary of CaseWare International Inc. www.caseware-idea.com

About Audimation Services, Inc.

Audimation Services, Inc. provides data analysis expertise and technology to accountants, auditors and financial professionals. Through its partnership with CaseWare IDEA Inc., Audimation Services offers the most powerful and complete set of data analysis software available to improve auditing performance and detect fraud. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Houston, the company is recognized for its extensive knowledge in areas such as data analysis, internal and external auditing, financial and operational auditing and fraud detection. www.audimation.com

IDEA is a registered trademark of CaseWare International Inc.

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Media Contacts: CaseWare IDEA Inc. – Bob Cuthbertson 416-867-9504 ext 170 bob.cuthbertson@caseware.com

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