Nationwide Settles Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

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Insurance and financial services firm Nationwide Financial Services Inc. has settled a federal trademark infringement lawsuit that it brought against Florida-based Nationwide Insurance Group Inc. and its affiliate The Nationwide Cos.


Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.


Nationwide Financial filed the suit in Federal District Court in Columbus, OH, in August seeking to stop Nationwide Insurance, based in Davie, FL, from using the Nationwide name and trademark to sell insurance and other financial services. The Florida-based companies, which are unrelated to Nationwide Financial, sell group health, life and disability insurance as part of a group marketing plan that pools its members for savings on insurance and financial services products.


"Our message is loud and clear, Nationwide has absolutely no connection to the Florida-based companies that were using the Nationwide name," said John Cook, Nationwide Financial's senior vice president of communications. "Another company in the same industry doing business under the Nationwide name is misleading to our customers and it creates confusion in the marketplace."


Under terms of the settlement, Nationwide Insurance will stop using the name Nationwide to advertise and market any type of insurance or financial service, give up its domain name, www.teamnationwide.com, and surrender all Web sites, printed materials and other materials bearing the name Nationwide. The company also will place a disclaimer, which makes it clear it is not affiliated with Nationwide Financial, on all printed materials and Web pages that promote or refer to insurance products of financial services.


Nationwide Insurance argued that insurance is a very small part of its overall business and that it does no advertising. The company changed its name from Focus Financial Group in January 2000.


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