Veterinary Hospital Managers Association wins CVPM-trademark lawsuit


Court upholds veterinary professionals must meet VHMA requirements to use the CVPM certification mark.

Misrepresenting your veterinary credentials could get you into legal trouble, as one team member recently found out. Marcus Dorris and the Pope Animal Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., were court-ordered last week to remove the trademark acronym CVPM (certified veterinary practice manager) from their clinic's sign, front door, windows, and advertisements.

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) owns the rights to the designation. Dorris, who is not certified by the VHMA, had been using the trademark without permission. After repeatedly asking Dorris to cease use of the credentials, the VHMA took the matter to court. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee ordered Dorris and the clinic to stop using the certification mark because it was misleading and an infringement. The court also stated that the CVPM mark-and a similar mark, CVPD, that Dorris tried to use-were distinctly linked to the VHMA and that its use would lead consumers to think people using those credentials were certified or endorsed by the VHMA.

CVPM certification by the VHMA requires specific educational and experiential levels, and applicants must pass an examination on the management of veterinary practices. Only those who meet the requirements and receive the certification through the VHMA may use the CVPM designation, which is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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