ATLANTA North America is not big enough for two advertising job recruitment firms with the word Zoo in their names, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by Talent Zoo against Work Zoo.
Talent Zoo, an Atlanta job search, placement and recruiting firm for the advertising industry, claims that Work Zoo, a Fountain Valley, Calif., company that provides a similar service, is infringing on Talent Zoo's trademark with the similarity of its name. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, asks the court to stop Work Zoo from using the word Zoo in its name, citing protection under federal and state trademark and fair trade laws.
"Talent Zoo was the first recruiting and job search business operating in the United States under a name or mark that includes the word "Zoo," the lawsuit states. "Playing off the reputation and goodwill created in the name Talent Zoo, ZipTree Inc. branded its job search business under the confusingly similar name "Work Zoo."
Mark Maunder, founder and president of Work Zoo, denied the allegations and said he would fight the accusation in court. His company is a search engine that links to postings on other Internet job sites, which is markedly different from the service provided by Talent Zoo, he said.
"We really think their complaint has no merit," Maunder said. "We'll take this to the nth degree and let a court of law decide."
Maunder said he founded Work Zoo in London in 2001. He moved to the U.S. in 2003 and established the company in California the following year. He did not know about Talent Zoo until he received a letter from the company late last year demanding that he stop using Zoo in his name, he said.
Rick Myers, founder and president of Talent Zoo, referred questions to his attorney, Marc Hershovitz of Atlanta. Myers issued the following statement about the lawsuit: "Talent Zoo takes the protection of its name and intellectual property very seriously."
Hershovitz said he attempted to resolve the matter with Maunder and his attorney but failed.
"We made every effort to resolve this matter short of litigation and were rebuffed," Hershovitz said.
Maunder has 20 days to answer the complaint after he is served a copy of it. He said Wednesday afternoon that he had not seen the lawsuit.
Talent Zoo also asks for actual and punitive damages and a jury trial.