Clarification to This Article
This Sept. 18 A-section article about a lawsuit filed by conservative activist Larry Klayman against a Republican group backing the Iraq war for using the name "Freedom's Watch" did not note that, although Klayman had filed to register "Freedom Watch" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 2004, the registration status was listed as abandoned last year. Klayman said he used the name continuously since 2004. He refiled for registration on Aug. 23, the day after the Republican group used the name to launch a national advertising campaign.

Legal Battle Brewing Over Group's Name

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Larry Klayman, the conservative lawyer best known for repeatedly taking the Clinton administration to court in the 1990s, sued supporters of the Bush administration yesterday, claiming they appropriated the name "Freedom's Watch" for use in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in support of the Iraq war.

Klayman, who supported the initial invasion but now says he is against the "chaotic" war, accuses what he says is an "arrogant Washington elite" of adopting a name he has used for nonprofit work since 2004. He said he became interested in the name "Freedom Watch" after writers of the television series "The West Wing" created a fictitious group by that name, loosely based on his organization Judicial Watch, which filed a number of lawsuits against Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The pro-war Freedom's Watch organization was formed last month by former Bush aides and Republican fundraisers to launch a $15 million advertising campaign to support the president's Iraq strategy. "It shouldn't surprise anyone that Larry Klayman is filing another lawsuit with absolutely no validity," Freedom's Watch spokesman Matt David told the Associated Press.

But an unflinching Klayman said he is seeking $100 million in damages in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Miami. "The Bush people stole my name," Klayman said. "They actually saw it and liked it." By putting an apostrophe in the title of their group, he added, Bush's supporters "were trying to be cute.

"These arrogant political lobbyists and rich Bush 'yes men' . . . are not furthering freedom, but in fact harming it," Klayman said.

-- Paul Lewis

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