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Lan-Oak Park District files lawsuit against Lansing Journal, serves Jongsma with summons

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LANSING, Ill. (June 8, 2024) – The Lan-Oak Park District has moved forward with the legal action they threatened last fall, filing a lawsuit with the Cook County Circuit Court on April 5.

Lawsuit filed

The Lansing Journal became aware of the filing when Publisher Melanie Jongsma received a Google Alert about it on April 6, which she forwarded to Attorney Andrew Schapiro and Associate Marissa Medansky from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, who are providing pro bono legal services to the Journal.

The Cook County Record published an article about the filing on April 12: Lansing park district sues Lansing Journal for trademark infringement.

What’s in the lawsuit?

lawsuit
The Lansing Journal’s Clock Tower T-shirt features a stylized photo of the Lansing Clock Tower.

The Journal is being sued for what the plaintiff alleges to be an improper use of a graphic of the clock tower located in Park Plaza. The photo, which was taken and stylized by Jongsma, can be purchased on a T-shirt and a variety of other products online.

The lawsuit alleges The Lansing Journal’s use of the clock tower image “is clearly designed to create consumer confusion” and will “irreparably harm the Park District.”

Five counts are included in the suit:

  1. Violation of the Trademark Registration and Protection Act
  2. Trademark infringement under the Lanham Act
  3. Unfair competition under the Lanham Act
  4. Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act
  5. Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act

Jongsma served

According to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 102(b), “No summons … may be served later than 30 days after its date.”

Jongsma was served on June 4.

She was at home when a Cook County Deputy Sheriff rang her doorbell.

Lawsuit
A Cook County Deputy Sheriff served Journal Publisher Melanie Jongsma with a court summons. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

“He was very nice,” said Jongsma. “Very professional.”

Hearing scheduled

The Hearing Date for the case filed by Lan-Oak Park District is August 5, 2024, in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

“This lawsuit has no merit, and we look forward to contesting it in court,” said Schapiro.

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

18 COMMENTS

  1. What a senseless shame. I remember reading the 1st article about this. Couldn’t they have placed a phone call to you to come up with a resolution? Such a waste of taxpayers money. Not a good reflection of the community, but mostly of the park district.

  2. This is very disturbing! We live right down the street from Bock Park and it is an atrocity! That the Park District would use taxpayers money on such a silly lawsuit is a crime! Take care of all of the Parks not just a select few! A picture of the Clock tower representing the town of Lansing is a good thing, we want people to see Lansing in a good light! Shame on the group that this was a good idea! These are elected officials so get out and vote and change this.

  3. I have been a taxpayer in Lansing for over 50-years and all during that time some of those taxes have found its way to the Lan-Oak Park district. When they spend that money for something that does not make sense, I have attended their meetings and asked for explanations. That was before I learned to use The Lansing Journal to go directly to the residents. I demand to know the extent of the legal fees that have been used and will be used to prosecute this useless waste of taxpayer money. Normally, my commonsense attempts to speak in the interest of th Lansing people are disregard. In this case we could be successful. Let’s ask the elected Commissioners of Lan-Oak to answer this appeal to explain themselves in writing by answering to this posting. Who will be harmed by the graphic on The Lansing Journal’s attempt to unity the community by having the Watch Town shown on merchandize.

    • I’ve been a taxpayer here for 19 years. I agree, we deserve an answer. I was thinking a good compromise would be finish selling the shirts that are already printed then change to a different logo. However the park district wants an account of revenue already made from the shirts 😳…

  4. I totally agree with Robert Malkas. And all the posts. I’m also a 51 year resident. They need to get their priorities straight.

  5. The Park District should be ashamed. I think it is free beeautiful advertisesement for not only them but Lansing also. !!!!!!!

  6. so lan oak park district is suing the lansing journal? omg they have the$$$ to do that but the equipment takes months to repair. For example, the drinking fountain upstars has been broken for going on 8 months now. They have staff lie and say it does not work because they are filling the pool. Right all day long for 8 months!!!!! by the way the clock tower was paid for by a private party in memory of his wife. the lop never spent a dine on it. My tax dollars at work? Shameful.

  7. Totally ridiculous!! I believe that it is an endorsement of our beautiful clock tower. I’ve been in Lansing for most of my 74 years of life! I’m just shaking my head as to who would be so ignorant to sue!

  8. I am in total agreement with my fellow neighbors with this lawsuit. The Lansing Journal has been our best source of the news in and about our town. We should be working to get rid of that Township Supervisor, limiting crime in Lansing to include the aforementioned and bolstering more positive activities for the children in our town. Work together as Lansing citizens Lan-Oak this is a sad waste of resources. I wanna buy 10 of the shirts just to show pride on my town I don’t care who profits as long as it’s not Henyard.

  9. This is totally ridiculous!
    Our tax dollars are being used by the most screwed up park district ever.
    We are all lansing . We Should work together! I want to know who from the park district is going to benefit .
    The Lansing Journal is great. And I will support all the way!
    We need to ban together and support the Journal. The Clock Tower stands proudly for LANSING!
    If there are shirts being sold. I’ll buy 2

  10. This is ridiculous. The park district has been lying to us for years, can’t manage to get anything done, and our parks are shameful. This is a waste of our tax dollars.

  11. Just another local taxpayer weighing in here, 20+ years. This is the hill that Lansing Park District wants to die on? Come on, LPD this is NOT a good look for you. Play nice and try offering some branded merch of your own to help fund the parks.

  12. I will be attending the Lan-Oak Park meeting on Monday night and will submit a Freedom of Information Act request to revel the cost to the Lansing taxpayers for the legal fees incurred to date for their legal action against The Lansing Journal. I invite others to express their concerns-6:30 Eisenhower. Public comments are taken at the begging of the Committee of the Whole section of the agenda.

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