To avoid a potential lawsuit, the Lafayette Parish School System will scrap the name it’s used for at least the past year to describe its early childhood education outreach program — a name that’s too similar to one already used by the United Way Worldwide.
The school system planned to register a trademark for “Success by 5 Alliance,” the name selected to refer to its child care resource and referral agency until officials realized it was too similar to “Success by 6,” the name used by United Way Worldwide for the past 20 years to identify its own educational program for younger children, said Christine Duay, the school system’s early childhood education director.
Through the local agency, the Lafayette Parish School System helps parents locate quality child care programs and also provides training and technical assistance to child care centers.
“We applied for the copyright and then through the process of going through all the steps, we realized that there could possibly be a concern, so we decided to pull it and change the name,” Duay said. “Going through the copyright process actually costs money, and we didn’t want to spend any additional money if there was a potential for litigation. We work with the United Way. We serve on early childhood education committees together. The best thing to do was to change the name.”
So, the school system decided to change the name of its program within the next six months, after district officials collaborated with the United Way of Acadiana, the local affiliate of United Way Worldwide, to “find a solution to avoid legal interventions and unnecessary costs,” school officials said in a news release.
“We appreciate the willingness of LPSS to modify its program name and anticipate a smooth transition over the next six months,” Margaret Trahan, UWA president and CEO, said in the release. “The focus of LPSS on early childhood issues is important, and we share that common interest. Working together creates momentum and more opportunity for children to be school-ready.”
Recently, the school system and United Way of Acadiana announced a new adopt-a-school project, coordinated by the United Way, that provides resources to schools. The agencies partner on other projects, such as the United Way Readers program, which places volunteers in schools to work with struggling readers, and the Stuff the Bus school supply drive.
At its Aug. 12 meeting, the board agreed to hire attorney Stephen R. Doody to handle the registration of the trademark. Duay said the school system plans to continue the trademark registration process when it creates a new name for the referral and resource agency.
“A name is a way for the community to identify with that organization and the services they offer,” Duay said. “It could become confusing to someone in the community if it shared a name with another agency.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.