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BrightRidge Broadband files injunction over “Brightspeed” branding by Apollo Global
JOHNSON CITY – BrightRidge Broadband has filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Tennessee seeking an injunction against Apollo Global Management, a New York City based private equity firm that recently completed the $7.5 billion purchase of the former CenturyLink/Lumen Technologies assets in 20 states including Tennessee.
The purchase includes CenturyLink/Lumen’s local assets and operations, with Apollo assuming the corporate name Brightspeed for the business upon closure of the deal on October 3, 2022.
BrightRidge Broadband has already received questions from CenturyLink customers in its service area confused by the Brightspeed branding, thinking it related to BrightRidge Broadband, while 85 percent of surveyed customers in the BrightRidge service area indicated the two names as confusing.
“Filing a lawsuit is not a step we take lightly,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “BrightRidge Broadband is more than prepared to compete as our customers are receiving next generation Internet services at a price point that benefits the region. However, if our customers can’t find us because they were confused by a similarly branded competitor, that hurts the community and our company.”
BrightRidge Broadband pursed the matter with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and while USPTO did require Apollo to amend its application, it ultimately did not deem the use of Brightspeed to be confusing in the BrightRidge Broadband market area. The matter is still pending in front of USPTO, with Apollo failing to amend its application. And, the USPTO has not published the Brightspeed mark in the Federal Register.
Despite continuing questions about the legitimacy of Apollo Global’s use of the Brightspeed mark, it moved froward with the announcement of its entry into the marketplace, forcing BrightRidge Broadband to respond with the request of a federal court injunction against the use of the name.
In its request for an injunction, BrightRidge Broadband alleges that Brightspeed is attempting to grow its market share by misappropriation of the goodwill generated by BrightRidge Broadband’s positive impact on the community through its provision of next generation Internet services to the market.