Chicago law firm files trademark suit against rival that also uses O'Keefe in its name
Updated: The politically connected Chicago law firm of O'Keefe Lyons & Hynes claims a suburban law firm is confusing the public by using O’Keefe in its name.
In a federal lawsuit filed on Friday, O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes claims trademark infringement, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, consumer fraud and unjust enrichment by the O’Keefe Law Firm in suburban LaGrange, Illinois.
Both law firms offer property tax appeals and both use similarly named websites, according to the federal lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Illinois. The website for O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes is www.okeefe-law.com, while the O’Keefe Law Firm uses the domain name okeefelawfirm.com.
O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes was founded in 1937 by James O’Keefe, “a well-known political associate” of three former Chicago mayors, including Richard Daley, the suit says. Partner Kevin O’Keefe was a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. Partner Thomas Lyons was chief of the Cook County Democratic Party from 1990 to 2007. Partner Kevin Hynes served in the U.S. Attorney General’s office.
The O’Keefe Law Firm, on the other hand, was apparently formed in 2012, the suit says. Its name so closely resembles that of O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes that it is “passing its services off as if they are OLH’s services,” the suit alleges.
O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes sent a cease and desist letter to the O’Keefe Law Firm in April after a client confused the two firms, according to the suit. The O’Keefe Law Firm responded with several questions, and O’Keefe Lyons & Hynes provided answers in a May letter, the suit says.
Since then, the O’Keefe Law Firm’s only response has been the addition of the “TM” designation next to its name on its website, the suit says.
Illinois lawyer registration records indicate that a lawyer named Cindy O’Keefe practices at the O’Keefe Law Firm in LaGrange. She responded to an ABA Journal email seeking comment on Thursday. O’Keefe said she couldn’t comment on pending litigation, but her firm would be filing an answer in the coming days.
Hat tip to Law360.
Updated at 1:15 p.m. to indicate that records show a lawyer named Cindy O’Keefe practices at the O’Keefe Law Firm. Updated on July 27 to report that O’Keefe told the ABA Journal she couldn’t comment on pending litigation.