Aircraft foundation accuses founder and former president of usurping its symposium

By The Northern California Record | Feb 7, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO—A California nonprofit aimed at advancing aircraft technologies is suing its founding members and former president over allegations of unfair competition, injury to its reputation and trademark infringement, among other things.

CAFE Foundation Inc. filed suit against Dr. Brien A. Seeley and Sustainable Aviation Foundation Inc. on Feb. 5  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that Seeley knowingly formed his own foundation in an attempt to harm the plaintiff by usurping its annual symposium and other assets.

According to the complaint, CAFE Foundation alleges that after the defendant parted ways with the plaintiff in October 2015 over a disagreement with other board members, he set up a symposium that was very similar to its own annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, and marketed it as one and the same. He also allegedly used photos and assets on his website taken from the plaintiff's past events; and denied CAFE Foundation access to many of its own assets, including computer files, trophies and models, flash drives, and online accounts.

CAFE Foundation seeks compensation for all damages suffered, all legal fees, and any other relief the court deems just and proper. The plaintiff is represented by Willard A. Carle III and Richard C. O'Hare of Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross LLP in Santa Rosa.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case number 3:16-cv-00628

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CAFE foundation U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

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