Court revives ‘AIG’ trademark lawsuit against insurance giant

The AIG logo is seen at its building in New York’s Financial District March 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Appeals court finds judge wrongly dismissed Missouri broker’s case
  • The judge ruled that the lawsuit was filed too late

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that insurance giant American International Group Inc faces a trademark lawsuit brought by a Missouri insurance broker who also uses the name AIG, reversing a lower court decision.

Conflicting evidence should have prevented a federal court in St. Louis from ruling before trial that AIG Agency Inc’s lawsuit was filed too late, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has heard. mentioned.

American International declined to comment. A lawyer for AIG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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AIG said in its lawsuit that it began using the three-letter name shortly after its founding in 1958. New York-based American International first used the “AIG” trademark between 1968 and 1970. and received federal registration in 1981.

The companies fought out of court over the name in 1995 and 2008. AIG rebranded its property and casualty insurance business as Chartis in 2009 following the parent company’s near collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

Chartis resumed using the AIG name in 2012.

AIG filed a lawsuit in 2017. The company said it began experiencing significant customer confusion after renaming American International in 2012 and switching to direct-to-customer advertising roughly at the same time.

A federal judge ruled for American International in 2020, finding that AIG should have sued after learning of a potential confusion in 1995. But a three-judge 8th Circuit panel said Friday that AIG could not have -not being informed of his claims until 2012.

A trademark infringement action is not viable until there is a likelihood of confusion, and the district court “did not announce any test on which it relied to determine when a likelihood of confusion arose,” the 8th Circuit said.

The appeals court also said there was evidence the confusion was not likely before American International’s 2012 marketing changes.

The case is AIG Agency Inc v. American International Group Inc, 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-1948.

For AIG: Anthony Simon of Simon Law Firm

For American International: Zachary Tripp of Weil Gotshal & Manges

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