The Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce is suing the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce.
That’s the problem.
The Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce at 2300 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 800, has accused the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce of infringing on the former’s Nevada service trademark by operating as the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce.
Not to mention confusing both chambers’ prospective members.
“I think it has hurt people joining as far as Ward 5 or us; people are too confused. They don’t know which to join because both are advertising the same name,” said Gregory St. Martin, president and founder of the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce.
There are at least 15 chambers of commerce in Southern Nevada devoted to various business interests. Many have overlapping membership, depending on the perks and networking opportunities offered. Both the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce (at 58 members) and the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce (with 70 members as of Jan. 25) represent “ecoconscious” companies committed to the sustainability trend pervading the business world these days.
St. Martin launched his organization Aug. 1, 2010, and registered the Las Vegas Green Chamber name with the state. The chamber, which is an affiliate of the San Francisco-based Green Chamber of Commerce Inc., trademarked the name on July 28 .
According to an Oct. 4 filing in U.S. District Court of Nevada, the chamber sent notice of its trademark registration to Ward 5 on Sept. 1. When Ward 5 did not surrender the name or change its website address, www.lasvegasgreenchamberofcommerce.com, the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce sued. St. Martin’s chamber is being represented by local law firm Peel Brimley LLP and Portland, Ore.-based intellectual property firm Kolisch Hartwell.
The Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce is seeking an injunction to prevent Ward 5 from using the green name, as well as damages and attorney fees.
St. Martin said his issue with Ward 5 has nothing to do with the chamber itself, its membership or its mission.
“This is not about who’s better,” he said. “I have respect for Ward 5 and what they’re doing. This is just about the name.”
The Ward 5 Chamber, at 6216 S. Sandhill Road, began using the Green Chamber moniker last year, though it’s still registered with the state under its original name.
In a November interview with the Las Vegas Business Press, Ward 5 Chamber President Katherine Duncan said she was aware of the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce but had no plans to stop using the name.
The Ward 5 Chamber began using the Las Vegas Green Chamber name to emphasize sustainability in Ward 5, which includes the predominantly African-American neighborhood of West Las Vegas, Duncan said at the time.
Duncan emailed Kolisch Hartwell on Thursday to request a meeting with the Sahara Avenue Green Chamber’s board of directors.
“We’re trying to figure out where they stand and what they want from us,” said Duncan, adding that she has not yet seen the court filing.
Duncan said she would refrain from further comment until after meeting with the Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce in the coming week.
Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at
email@example.com or 702-387-5273.