Claiming deceptive Web advertising by LegalMatch, Maine’s Pine Tree Legal Assistance, a nonprofit agency that provides legal services to the poor, has sued the San Francisco business in federal court in Portland.

The suit alleges that when users type “Pine Tree Legal Assistance” in Web search engines, LegalMatch’s advertisements appear in the results. The ads say, “Find Pine Tree Legal Assistance Services” and link to LegalMatch’s Web site. LegalMatch is a company that describes itself as an “attorney/client matching service.”

A report on the suit in the Portland Press Herald quotes Hugh Calkins, PTLA’s director of research and development: “The case is about people trying to mislead our client population to commercial Web sites that they can’t afford.”

PTLA’s suit seeks damages against the San Francisco-based online company for trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and false advertisement.

Lawyers from the law firms Bernstein Shur and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi are representing PTLA at no cost.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.