Judge Denies Teachers Unions’ Request for Injunction Over Hogan’s Campaign Use of Apple Imagery

Unions claim they are protecting their trademark logo

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A Montgomery County judge denied Monday a request by the Montgomery County Education Association and a state teachers union for a temporary injunction to prevent Gov. Larry Hogan from using campaign materials that resemble the local teachers union’s apple endorsement logo.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Mason ruled the plaintiffs, the MCEA and the Maryland State Education Association, did not make a case of evidentiary basis to support their concerns that voters would be confused by the Hogan campaign’s use of a red apple on bumper stickers and on social media. The so-called “apple ballot” has long been associated with MCEA political endorsements.

Hogan, a Republican,  is running against Democrat and former NAACP President Ben Jealous in the Nov. 6 gubernatorial election. Jealous has been endorsed by the teachers unions.

In a prepared statement immediately following the ruling, MSEA and MCEA attorney Kristy Anderson said the unions would continue their fight after the election.

“It is unfortunate that Governor Hogan’s campaign was not amenable to resolving this matter quickly and without fanfare, forcing us to file this lawsuit to protect our trademark. We remain confident in the merits of our case and that the Court will ultimately decide, after fully considering the matter during the next stage of the proceedings, that Governor Hogan’s campaign has infringed on our registered trademark,” Anderson said. “As we have done in previous elections with candidates regardless of party, we will continue to defend our registered trademark of an apple in connection with phrases that imply the political endorsement of educators or teachers.”

Hogan attorney Timothy Maloney of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake provided the following statement from the Hogan campaign.

“We’re grateful for the court’s ruling today. It permits the Hogan campaign and many teachers across Maryland to continue using a longstanding and universally known symbol for education, the apple, as part of their expression of support for Governor Hogan’s re-election,” Maloney said. “The court has now denied the union’s demand for an injunction twice in the last 10 days, so we hope the unions end this litigation and stop using teachers’ hard-earned dues money on this litigation.”

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