Service academy Graduates Againist the War
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in the news
Quit Using Our Name, West Point Warns Grad
Former cadets against Iraq war use alma mater to describe group.

Published on Friday, May 5, 2006 by the Syracuse Post-Standard (New York)
by Mike McAndrew

There's a West Point Barber Shop, West Point Pizza and West Point Florist.
But the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is warning a Manlius man that his new organization West Point Graduates Against the War better stop using the words "West Point" in its name.
Bill Cross, a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran, said he's become accustomed to some military officials criticizing him for protesting both U.S. wars on Iraq.
But Cross never expected the government to threaten to use trademark laws to stifle him, he said.
On April 12, just days after http://www.westpointgradsagainstthewar.org/ was launched on the Internet, a West Point lawyer mailed Cross' organization a letter alleging it is violating the U.S. Army's trademark.
Academy spokesman Michael D'Aquino said this dispute is not about politics.
The military academy would have sent Cross' organization a warning letter even if it was called "West Point Graduates For the War," D'Aquino said.
The U.S. Army registered a trademark on the words "West Point" in 2000 to prevent anyone else from using the mark on educational material or a wide range of commercial goods, including golf balls, commemorative coins, Christmas tree ornaments and paper products.
"Users must have (the Army's) permission to incorporate these words in Web sites or organizational titles," D'Aquino said.
When a trademark violation comes to their attention, Army officials take action, D'Aquino said.
Cross' organization has hired Syracuse attorney Joseph Heath to battle back against the academy, located 50 miles north of New York City. In a letter sent Monday to West Point, Heath questioned the academy's stance given his client's First Amendment rights and the widespread use of the words "West Point."
Cross, a psychology professor at Onondaga Community College and family therapist, co-founded West Point Graduates with his 1962 classmates Jim Ryan, of New York City, and Joe Wojcik, of Claremont, Calif.
He said the organization has a Web site, but no assets, and it isn't selling anything. The founders plan to incorporate it as a nonprofit business. West Point graduates, their spouses and their children can join for free.
Cross estimated that about 50 people have joined since the Web site was launched in mid-April. Through Tuesday afternoon, there had been more than 22,000 hits on the group's Web site.
As for barbers and florists who use the name for their businesses, at least three interviewed Thursday said they've never been contacted by the Army, and were unaware the name was a trademark.
"I'm 73 years old, I've been here 50 years and they've never bothered me," said Bill Carlton, owner of the West Point Barber Shop in West Point, Va. "As far as I know, anybody who wants to open (a business) can go ahead and grab (the name)."
2006 The Post-Standard

Bill Cross, a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran, said he's become accustomed to some military officials criticizing him for protesting both U.S. wars on Iraq.

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