Two Florida companies are locked in a trademark battle over the names of their hospital services. Oviedo Medical Center is suing AdventHealth over the name “Oviedo ER”. The medical center claims that AdventHealth is infringing its trademark and engaging in unfair competition. It opened Oviedo ER in 2013. In 2019, AdventHealth opened a new emergency room on Red Bug Lake Road, less than one mile from the emergency room operated by Oviedo Medical Center. However, the AdventHealth location is advertised in billboards as an “Oviedo ER”, and the medical center says that both patients and emergency personnel may be confused about the differences.
Oviedo Medical Center filed the lawsuit once before, but it was dismissed on technical grounds. The judge hearing the case gave the medical center until Nov. 12 to revise the complaint, but the medical center refiled before the deadline. It is also alleging that AdventHealth registered a domain name incorporating the term “Oviedo ER” to recruit employees to work at its facility and is calling for the domain to be transferred to Oviedo Medical Center. Since the lawsuit was initially filed, Oviedo Medical Center’s pending application to register Oviedo ER as a trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
While the application had been made in April, it was still in process in August, when the initial lawsuit was filed. The refiled complaint added allegations of registered trademark infringement against AdventHealth. The AdventHealth building does not say Oviedo ER on the property; instead, the free-standing facility has a large sign on the wall that reads “ER” only.
Trademarks can be a critical mechanism for businesses to distinguish themselves from one another, and protecting them is essential to keep them alive. An intellectual property attorney may help companies to protect their unique ideas from infringement and unfair competition.