Practice Management Companies Go To Court in Trademark Dispute Over ‘All-In-One’

ZolaSuite’s website says it is the “All In One Practice Management System”

Executive Data Systems, the Florida company that sells the law practice management platform PerfectLaw, has sued another practice management company, Zola Media, which sells the cloud-based system ZolaSuite, alleging that Zola is violating its trademark in the phrase “all-in-one.”

In addition, I am told that EDS has sent cease-and-desist letters to at least two other practice management companies, CosmoLex and MyCase, both of which use the phrase “all in one” in their marketing. While CosmoLex has confirmed this, MyCase executives declined comment. Counsel for EDS did not respond to an email sent to him.

In the lawsuit against Zola, filed Aug. 21 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, EDS alleges that it began using the all-in-one trademark in 2000 in connection with its law office management software and services and that it registered the trademark in 2012.

Zola, on its website, markets its software as the “all in one practice management system.” Similarly, CosmoLex describes itself as an “all in one web-based system” and MyCase says it is “an all-in-one, affordable and intuitive legal practice management software.”

EDS alleges in its lawsuit that Zola’s use of this trademark will cause confusion among potential customers and deceive them as to the source of Zola’s software and cause to the public to believe that Zola’s software originated from or is associated with EDS. This will cause damage to EDS’s business and its goodwill, it says.

In an answer and counterclaim filed Nov. 6, Zola denies that it is violating EDS’s trademark or that it is using the trademark in any way meant to identify EDS as a source of its software.

Its counterclaim against EDS asserts that it is the “victim of trademark bullying” and that “EDS is wielding its purported trademark registration in an effort to stifle a small competitor from using generic verbiage in connection with the promotion of its goods and services.”

Zola further alleges that EDS’s trademark should be cancelled because the phrase “all-in-one” is a widely used generic term. It notes that a number of practice management applications use the phrase in their marketing and that various articles in legal publications also use the phrase to describe a type of practice management application.