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Bank responds to CUs trademark suit
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (7/12/10)--The president of a bank being sued for trademark infringement by Michigan First CU said the bank intends to defend the suit "vigorously." David Provost, president, chairman and CEO of the similarly named First Michigan Bank, which is based in Troy, Mich., made the statement in Crain's Detroit Business, saying the suit is "baseless." The $550 million asset credit union filed the suit on May 12 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Ann Arbor, less than two weeks after the bank acquired a failed bank that would put the bank and credit union in competition in the same market (News Now May 18). It seeks an injunction to prevent the bank from using the name. Michigan First CU owns the service marks that feature prominently the words "Michigan First." These include "Michigan First Credit Union" for its credit union services, "Michigan First Credit Union Moneyworks," for its internet banking services, "Michigan First Wealth Management Group" for its financial planning and estate planning services, and "www.michiganfirst.com," the credit union's website. Provost told Crain's that the bank's use of the name does not create a likelihood of confusion because a large number of financial institutions use the terms "first" and "Michigan" in their names in varying ways. "Michigan-based consumers of financial service are discriminating customers who understand the difference between a bank and a credit union," he told the publication.


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