The logosof the United Business Association of Midway. --Supplied image

The logosof the United Business Association of Midway. --Supplied image

Biz groups battle over names, logos

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UBAM, MCC trade barbs

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By Dermot Connolly

and Tim Hadac

The leader of one Midway-area business association is accusing the other of bad faith, and the leader of the other is scratching her head over the dustup.

United Business Association of Midway Executive Director Anita Cummings recently claimed that a rival group has sown confusion.

CRRNH UBAMlolo 041724

The logo of the United Business Association of Midway. –Supplied image

UBAM’s objection stems from action taken in 2022, when the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce—founded in the 1950s–changed its name to the Midway Chamber of Commerce.

Cummings said some people have been led to believe that UBAM–founded in 1985–has been absorbed into the Midway Chamber of Commerce. She did not say who is confused.

“Our reputation and legacy is important to me, and I feel there is no respect for that,” said Cummings, a business consultant and founding member of UBAM.

The organization was originally formed to advocate for businesses with an economic interest in Midway Airport, though UBAM reportedly expanded to include residents of the neighborhoods as well as businesses outside of the Midway footprint.

UBAM attorney Timothy Grace sent the Midway Chamber of Commerce the Chamber a cease-and-desist letter last month. In it, he said legal action is a possibility. Cummings said several letters from Grace have been ignored by the MCC.

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The logo of the Midway Chamber of Commerce. –Supplied image

“MCC is using the UBAM (trademarked) mark without authorization by incorporating key elements of the UBAM logo,” said Grace in the letter pointing to the two logos. UBAM’s shows a jet ascending, with the original Midway International Airport tower in the background. The MCC logo shows a jet encircled by the new name.

“Using the word ‘Midway’ in conjunction with an airplane adds to the confusion,” Cummings said.

“UBAM cannot permit your unauthorized use of the UBAM Mark,” the UBAM letter said. “Your use not only directly violates our client’s well-established trademark rights and directly usurps its goodwill, but the unauthorized mark is causing real and actual confusion as to source or affiliation and otherwise threatens UBAM’s exclusive rights to the UBAM mark.” Noting that UBAM has been in existence for nearly 40 years, the letter claims that MCC’s actions constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s name change to the Midway Chamber of Commerce reflects its expansion in recent years to serve all sides of the airport, as well as Summit and Bedford Park. The new name was the top vote getter among several choices presented to members in an open meeting. One of the losing choices was to keep the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce name.

Grace’s letter states that UBAM does not object or take issue with MCC expanding its service area to Clearing and other neighborhoods and communities in the area. But UBAM insists that MCC rebrand itself to resolve the problem.

‘Can’t copyright an airplane’

MCC responded with a letter from attorney Carlos Aparicio, a board member of the organization.

“The utilization of the MCC logo does not constitute copyright or trademark infringement, or any violation of intellectual property rights that would require UBAM authorization,” Aparicio said. He also denied copying the UBAM logo.

“I don’t know what their point is,” Aparicio added. “You can’t copyright an airplane. The two don’t look anything alike.”

“Mr. Aparicio certainly has a right to that opinion,” Cummings responded. “Obviously, we strongly disagree-based on current trademark and copyright laws.”

Responding to the suggestion that UBAM may take legal action, Aparicio said in the letter, “The MCC is confident that the court will find a favorable outcome.”

Cummings said that despite UBAM’s threat, she hopes the matter can be resolved outside of court.

MCC President Mary Ellen Brown said the whole episode is regrettable and accused UBAM officials of not returning phone calls.

She also said that the MCC offered to merge with UBAM more than a year ago and that Cummings agreed, but only if she could be named MCC president.

“I told her that’s not how it works,” Brown said to the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound. “[If the merger occurred], she’d be welcome to run for president, just like anyone else—and if she received the most votes, she’d be president. That’s just how [the MCC] works. We respect the opinions of our members.”

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