Alternative transportation group sues Eyman

The Associated Press
8/5/02 8:21 PM

OLYMPIA (AP) -- The Transportation Choices Coalition sued anti-tax activist Tim Eyman on Monday, accusing him of stealing the alternative transportation group's name by dubbing his latest ballot measure the Transportation Choices Initiative.

Initiative 265 -- which will likely appear on the ballot next fall if it attracts enough signatures -- would dedicate all state taxes from car sales to highway construction and repairs, and open freeway carpool lanes to general traffic during non-peak hours.

That's a repellent idea for the coalition, which advocates for buses, trains, walkable communities, vanpools, telecommuting and other alternatives to driving alone to work.

"What we're all about is giving people choices," said Peter Hurley, the coalition's executive director. "What his initiatives do is take away choices."

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, accuses Eyman and Permanent Offense, his political action committee, of using the name to confuse and deceive people, silence the coalition's voice and raise money using a name associated with more and better transportation alternatives.

It asks the court to block further use of the name.

Although the lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, the coalition didn't register the name as a trademark until last week.

"We've been using it for four years as a common-law service mark, never dreaming that someone would try to steal our name," Hurley said.

Eyman, who's always ready for free publicity for his initiatives, greeted the lawsuit with glee.

"I couldn't ask for a greater gift to our campaign," Eyman said. "The political ignorance here is just stunning."

Rex Stratton, the coalition's lawyer, said Eyman is violating Washington's Consumer Protection Act and the unfair business practices provisions of federal trademark law.

Eyman Responds

To:  Our thousands of supporters statewide, as well as all media outlets

From:  Tim Eyman, lead spokesman for the Transportation Choices Initiative
ph:  425-493-9127


Mukilteo, WA -- Rumor has it that our new transportation initiative, the Transportation Choices Initiative, is being sued for copyright infringement by our opponents.  They filed their lawsuit in federal court today.

"Yippee!  I have completely underestimated the political ignorance of our opponents over the years, but they continue to outdo themselves. Every initiative campaign struggles to earn publicity to get people talking.  I'm laughing hysterically because our opponents have
guaranteed news stories and editorials on the topic and each one will mention our new initiative, the Transportation Choices Initiative."

"But don't get me wrong, I encourage the Transportation Choices Coalition to aggressively pursue this lawsuit.  And don't let a federal judge stop you when he throws your lawsuit out on frivolous grounds. You must appeal it to the Court of Appeals and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court.  You deserve your day in court and you should spend whatever is necessary for many, many months to get satisfaction.  In fact, radio ads, TV ads, newspaper ads should also be pursued.  Spare no expense in your crusade to protect your copyright (which you filed for last week)."

The Transportation Choices Initiative will require vehicle sales taxes be deposited in the motor vehicle fund and used for road construction and maintenance; require performance audits on transportation agencies; and open carpool lanes during off-peak hours.

"Screaming atop each of our petitions, which will be ready by the end of August, will be our initiative name 'Transportation Choices Initiative' and below it will be our ballot title (which will likely be:  This measure would  require vehicle sales taxes be deposited in the motor
vehicle fund and used for road construction and maintenance; require performance audits on transportation agencies; and open carpool lanes during off-peak hours)."

"Voters will read our ballot title and see that we are providing them with a choice on transportation.  Voters can choose the largest tax increase in Washington state history, Referendum 51, or they can choose the Transportation Choices Initiative (TCI) which requires government to simply use existing public resources to fix transportation."

The Transportation Choices Initiative has been assigned Initiative #265 (but thanks to this lawsuit, we will hope to see our name "Transportation Choices Initiative" in every news story).  We must gather 197,734 signatures by the end of December to be considered.

Send checks -- made payable to "Transportation Choices Initiative" or
"TCI" to:

PO Box 48271
Spokane, WA  99228

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]


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