The National Parent Teacher Association sued a for-profit rival last week, accusing it of denigrating the established group in a bid to siphon off members.
The Chicago-based PTA boasted 12 million members during it heyday in the 1960s but has seen its ranks dwindle to less than half that.
The lawsuit names PTO Today—which markets itself as an alternative to the PTA—and School Family Media Inc., the parent company of the group. It claims trademark infringement, false advertising, deceptive trade practices, and other allegations.
PTO Chief Executive Tim Sullivan said his group, which he founded in 1999, is not to blame for the PTA’s woes.
The PTA, founded in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers, has a network of state and local affiliates and has been influential on key educational issues.
The lawsuit accuses PTO Today of misleading the public by hinting it has a relationship with the PTA.
The PTA says it filed the lawsuit when it was unable to resolve disputes outside of court.
A version of this article appeared in the October 03, 2012 edition of Education Week as PTA Sues Rival Group On Trademark Issues