Judge Beryl A. Howell bought LaMith Designs, Inc., a clothing company accused of trademark infringement by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority a little more time to defend itself. Plaintiff Delta is a well-recognized sorority founded on January 13, 1913 at Howard University in Washington D.C. currently boasting over 900 chapters all over the world. The sorority plaintiff claims that it is known by its name, its Greek letter symbols ΔΣΘ and its crest. All three are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office in efforts to protect its intellectual property rights.
The ruling handed down this past month vacated a default judgment issued in favor of Delta, which subsequently moved for an entry of that judgment, seeking their award of $620,656 in damages and attorney fees as a result of LaMith’s lawyer failing to appear at the scheduled hearing. Judge Howell reasoned that LaMith had engaged in settlement discussions with Delta, they did not willfully default, Delta would not be prejudiced from the vacatur and a finding that Washington D.C. may not have jurisdiction over the New York based company. Thus, he gifted them with sixty more days, taking Delta to a deadline of mid-August to conduct pre-trial discovery regarding LaMith’s ties to the District of Columbia.
Delta proclaimed that there is a lengthy application process for prospective vendors who seek licensing agreements to sell its memorabilia. The sorority shed light on the notoriety of their brand and the “hundreds of requests” they receive each year from vendors. Delta notes that vendors must agree to a number of Delta’s specific licensing requirements, one being that sales are limited solely to Delta members and only at Delta-approved events. LaMith it says, fell far from this restriction. The company was allegedly selling clothing and merchandise without any license or authorization and to non-Delta members through its catalog and online website which has since been shut down. Delta argued that despite being put on notice of their infringement, LaMith continued to sell Delta marked merchandise. Come August, by way of settlement or litigation, LaMith will be forced to face the music. Does Delta Sigma Theta have an anthem?