(SMART ALEC) PORTLAND — On June 13, 2016, the right-wing/libertarian organization named ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), funded partly by the billionaire Koch brothers, sent a Cease and Desist letter to our organization, SMART ALEC.
In the letter, posted below, they claim trademark infringement and harm to the goodwill they say they have built in the community.
“We were just so delighted to hear from them and we really were just so touched to know that they’re thinking of us,” SMART ALEC CEO Matthew Charles Cardinale said.
“Y’all picked the wrong organization with the right people. We fight suits like this on our lunch break,” Board Member Barbara Payne said.
“Well, I’ve been a SMART ALEC all my life and ALEC can sue us if they want to!” Board Secretary Dr. Dwanda Lee Farmer said.
On June 27, 2016, Dr. Farmer drove to the offices of ALEC’s attorneys and delivered yellow roses with a card saying, “Thank you for acknowledging us, signed, the Smart Alecs.”
“Our name is a double entendre,” Cardinale told the Huffington Post in an article published on July 28, 2016.
“On the one hand, the colloquialism has existed much longer than they [ALEC] have, and if it comes down to it, I’m going to have my dad do a notarized affidavit that I’ve been a smart aleck since childhood,” Cardinale said.
“The other half of it, is we’re a smart alternative to ALEC and that is protected under the parody/free speech doctrine. I don’t think there’s an issue of consumer confusion. It’s a clear parody. I don’t think anyone would hear my voice and hear me talking about solar panels and transparency and low income people involved in democracy and really think that I’m the American Legislative Exchange Council CEO,” Cardinale said.
It has been nearly five weeks since Dr. Farmer delivered the roses to ALEC’s attorneys and we have not received any further communications from ALEC to date.