Trademark Infringement Suit in Florida Leaves Patients in Limbo
The Tallahassee courtroom must decide if the practice of naturopathy should be allowed in the State of Florida, and who is the licensing authority for traditional naturpoaths, the Naturopathic National Council (as recognized by the federal government), or the State of Florida?
Naturopathy involves a system of therapeutics in which neither surgical nor “inorganic” medical agents (i.e. pharmaceuticals) are used. The Naturopathic National Council, Inc. of Stamford CT is the only entity authorized by the federal government to confer a license to a Naturopathic Physician or Doctor of Naturopathy, N.D., under federal trademark registration No. 3,047,099, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Dormant Commerce Clause.
In the current state of the law, it is a violation of the Lanham Trademark Act and an infringement upon the NNC’s certification mark to allow the use of either title by individuals licensed by the state. Given the amount of concern among Floridians about unresponsive HMOs, expensive pharmaceuticals with disconcerting side effects, and unnecessary surgical procedures, there is a vastly increased demand for naturopathic health providers.
According to the lawsuit, the state is defying federal authority and denying many of its consituents the type of health care options they are entitled to. The Tallahassee Court’s decision is pending.