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Penn Accuses California Company of Being Wharton Imposter

The University of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit accusing a California company of violating a trademark associated with the Wharton Business School.

The Wharton Business Foundation, which has locations in Beverly Hills, California, and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, is using Penn’s 132-year-old Wharton trademark without authorization, lawyers for the university said in a complaint made public today in federal court in Philadelphia.

The California company’s use of the name “creates a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace,” the University of Pennsylvania said in its complaint.

Wharton Business Foundation operates a website with the Wharton name and offers services including business education and business consultation through its Wharton Business Foundation University, according to the complaint. The company also advertises and maintains a toll-free phone number (888) 4-WHARTON, the university said in its filing.

Penn has been using the Wharton registered mark for business education since as early as 1881 and for business consultation since 1953, lawyers for the university said in the filing. The university is seeking a jury trial and a court order barring the misuse of its mark.

Officials at the Wharton Business Foundation didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the complaint.

The case is The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania v. Wharton Business Foundation, 13-cv-01616, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

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