[sticklist] - Update: Old Guard Response to VF Lawsuit

Richard Forno rforno at infowarrior.org
Fri Jun 19 14:33:44 UTC 2009

Hash: SHA1

All, I received the following letter this morning from the Old Guard  
in response to the recent lawsuit filed against them by the school.    
Official statements/rebuttals from the school are welcomed and will be  
reproduced here as well.   As a reminder the Sticklist takes no side  
on these issues and leaves it to you, the individual reader, to make  
your own judgments about "things VF" these days.


- - -Rick '90 '92C

< -- >

19 June 2009

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I am writing to you to explain some late developments.

You may be aware that the Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation and  
the Valley Forge Military Academy Alumni Association filed suit  
against the Old Guard's officers in Federal court on 22 May 2009 for  
trademark infringement (Case Nr. 2:2009cv02373). We believe this  
lawsuit is about silencing a critic and not trademark infringement.

The Old Guard was founded in October 2007 and the school saw our  
Application for 501(c)3 status at that time, was fully aware of our  
name, and never raised an objection to our use of the name VALLEY  
FORGE OLD GUARD - until now.

The Founders' Old Guard is an independently organized group of alumni  
of the Valley Forge Military Academy and College (VFMAC), along with  
parents, former parents, former faculty, and former members of the  
VFMAC Board of Trustees who are dedicated to preserving and enhancing  
the nature, core values, and traditions upon which our Alma Mater was  
founded. Members of The Founders' Old Guard seek to actively and  
independently advocate for the Academy's welfare, viability, and future.

As you may recall, in a Philadelphia Inquirer article on 23 April, a  
school spokesman stated the school was going to sue us, after which we  
received several letters from their attorney alleging trademark  
infringement. We answered every letter and made a good-faith effort to  
address every concern and reach a satisfactory solution with the  
school. Our intention has never been to infringe on the school's  
trademarks or cause any confusion on the part of the public that we  
were a part of VFMA&C. And in fact, we do not believe we have violated  
any of the school's rights.

In keeping with our mission and notwithstanding our disagreement with  
the basis of their claims, the Old Guard immediately acted to address  
their complaints.  With the intent of avoiding costly litigation for  
both organizations, which would drain both organizations' precious  
resources and distract the parties from the more critical issues  
facing the VFMAC, we took the following actions:

- - First, through an emergency Executive Session via teleconference of  
the Old Guard's Board of Directors, we discussed and agreed in  
principle to change our name to FOUNDERS' OLD GUARD. The school then  
objected to this name too, claiming the word FOUNDERS was already in  
use on their website.

- - Second, we changed all references to Valley Forge Old Guard on our  

- - Third, our homepage contains a prominent disclaimer stating that we  
are not part of or associated with VFMA&C or the alumni association.

- - Fourth, we removed the various photos of the school from the  
homepage because the school objected to our use of photographs of the  
buildings and cadets, claiming they are trademarked. Even though we  
believe their objection had no merit, we wanted to avoid a dispute  
over this issue so that we could concentrate on our mission to improve  
the direction of the school.

The next communication from the school was the lawsuit.

The cost of this meritless litigation will only add to the $1.3  
million that has already been spent on legal fees during the McGeorge  

We regret that VFMAC continues to fight rather than embrace the need  
to reform its leadership and governance. As a result, we have no  
choice but to continue to defend ourself in Federal court and  
yesterday filed a motion to dismiss the VFMAC lawsuit.  We will also  
continue to post on our website updated VFMAC facts and publicly  
available information about the status of VFMAC's affairs.  We invite  
you to see for yourself the growth in expenses reported over the last  
five years, the decline in contributions during that period and the  
increase in the per capita cost of each student.

Pete Robinson, '59 D Troop
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
Founders' Old Guard Inc.
email: info at foundersoldguard.org
The Founders' Old Guard, Inc. is an independent organization. It is  
NOT affiliated with sponsored by, or related to The Valley Forge  
Military Academy and College or its Alumni Association.

Comment: Rick's Current Public Key @ http://infowarrior.org/pgpkey.txt


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