Back in 2009, private security company Blackwater changed its name to “Xe” in an effort to rebrand itself after controversial work in Iraq tarnished its image. But the company had difficulty shaking the “company formerly known as Blackwater” moniker and late last year changed its name again, this time to “Academi.”
But it turns out that the re-re-brand to “Academi” is bringing about a whole new set of problems. The Virginian-Pilot reports today that a Texas-based sporting goods store Academy, Ltd is suing the company formerly known as Blackwater because it thinks “Academi” is hurting its own image:
The security company, which rechristened itself Xe in 2009 and Academi last year, is being sued for trademark infringement by Academy Ltd., a Texas-based sporting goods chain.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Houston, says the similarity of the two names will sow confusion in the public mind and cause Academy “irreparable harm” given Academi’s corporate history and “the negative media coverage stemming from its security operatives in Iraq.”
Blackwater security guards opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007 that left 17 dead. In December, 2009, a federal judge dropped charges against five former Blackwater guards involved in the shooting — a move that drew the ire of many Iraqis — but in April of last year, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four of the contractors. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to review that ruling and rejected an appeal by the four guards who argued prosecutors made improper use of their statements to investigators in charging them with 2007 killings in Baghdad.
Earlier this year, Harper’s Magazine published YouTube videos of Blackwater contractors’ erratic behavior in Iraq. One video shows a Blackwater guard randomly and “enthusiastically” firing an AK-47 from the turret of an armored vehicle and another shows a private guard yelling obscenities at passers-by and other armored cars smashing into civilian vehicles. (HT: Politico)