North Dakota Law

Updates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

UND law professor, Nick Datzov, said this case is focused on trade name infringement.

‘Very personal deal with the name’; Grand Forks doctor sues Sanford claiming they stole his name

A Grand Forks doctor claims Sanford moved into town and stole his name.

For doctor Khaled Rabadi health care is all about one thing, personal care.

“They all have my cell and they can reach me 24/7,” he said referring to his patients.

So when he decided to rename the office 3 years ago it was a pretty easy decision.

“The best thing I could do was to name the clinic after Grand Forks,” said Dr. Rabadi.

In 2018, Dr. Rabadi officially registered the name with the state, Grand Forks Clinic. 45 professionals now work for him, and the Grand Forks Clinic is about to open a new 21,000 square foot state of the art building with clinic space, laboratories and imaging equipment.

“We have invested a lot of time and energy to get where we are at,” said Dr. Rabadi.

Down the street, Sanford has opened a clinic. The name on the sign, Sanford Grand Forks Clinic.

“A patient brought this up to me, and he was confused he said are you part of Sanford,” said Rabadi.

Sanford claims it regularly names its clinic after the name of the town. Dr. Rabadi said he asked the health care giant to reconsider for two reasons, protect his name and his patients.

“There is quite a bit of risk to have your medical records to go to the wrong clinic,” he explained.

UND law professor Nick Datzov said this case is focused on trade name infringement.

“The focus will be on the likelihood of confusion to the public based on the names that have been chose for both of the parties,” explained Datzov.

Sanford declined a request for an interview.

In court they wrote, “The name Grand Forks Clinic is generic, not unique and not protectable under North Dakota law…plaintiff is not entitled to the exclusive use of the words or phrase Grand Forks Clinic.”

Dr. Rabadi said he welcomes competition and said this is not what the lawsuit is about, but protecting the name he built his reputation around.

“We have been here for a long time and we will be here for the long haul,” he said.

The case will go before a judge next week.

Read the original article from the InForum