17 November 2020Trademarks

StayWoke accused of trademark infringement by CampaignZERO

American not-for-profit CampaignZERO has accused fellow not-for-profit StayWoke of trademark infringement, despite the alleged infringer owning the trademark in dispute.

CampaignZERO filed its complaint at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Friday, November 13.

CampaignZERO was founded in 2009 to educate hospital patients about preventable harm and common hospital errors.

The not-for-profit has been using the ‘CampaignZERO’ trademark in connection with its work since 2009, according to the suit, and during the same year CampaignZero registered the domain name

The trademark ‘CampaignZERO’ is used to advocate for the reduction in medical care harm and it is displayed on the not-for-profit’s website,, along with the ™ designation.

CampaignZERO’s “excellent reputation, diligent promotion and use of the ‘CampaignZERO’ mark for over a decade” has resulted in public recognition of the mark, according to the complaint.

In 2015, social welfare organisation StayWoke successfully applied to register trademark ‘Campaign Zero’ in class 35 for use in connection with public advocacy to promote awareness of social justice (registration number 4,950,792).

StayWoke or one of its affiliates also registered the domain name during 2015, according to CampaignZERO.

In the suit, CampaignZERO speculated that StayWoke registered this domain name having discovered CampaignZERO’s existing domain names, and so would also have seen the ‘CampaignZERO’ trademark marked on the website.

StayWoke has used the ‘Campaign Zero’ mark on their own website to advocate for changes in policing, most notably to reduce unnecessary harm and death, as well as on their Facebook page.

CampaignZERO alleged that the Facebook page allegedly provides functionality for users to create their own social media campaigns to “solicit donations using the ‘Campaign Zero’ mark”.

StayWoke’s ‘Campaign Zero’ mark is identical to CampaignZERO’s own trademark and the organisation’s domain name is also highly similar, according to the complaint.

It added that both organisations are not-for-profits which seek to reduce unnecessary harm to members of the public through public advocacy and education services, and which rely on donations to support their work

As such, StayWoke’s use of the mark is likely to cause confusion with the “established” trademark of CampaignZERO and has already resulted in actual customer confusion, according to the suit. This will materially and irreparably harm CampaignZERO, which has built up goodwill in its trademark.

CampaignZERO said it has asked the social justice organisation to voluntarily abandon its US trademark for ‘Campaign Zero’, but StayWoke has continued to knowingly and wilfully infringe CampaignZERO’s trademark.

CampaignZERO has accused StayWoke of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising, as well as deceptive trade practices.

It has asked the court to cancel StayWoke’s ‘Campaign Zero’ trademark and to permanently prevent the social justice organisation from operating under the mark or domain names in dispute. CampaignZERO has also asked for treble damages to be awarded.

Finally, CampaignZERO has asked that StayWoke accounts to it for any and all donations received in relation to donation solicitation that used the ‘CampaignZERO’ trademark.

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