LOS ANGELES, AUG. 24 -- A nonprofit support group for young cancer victims today filed suit against dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, claiming he and a New York organization that fights AIDS have appropriated a name similar to the one it uses for dance fundraisers.
Vital Options, a Studio City-based support group for youthful cancer patients, said in its U.S. District Court suit against New York-based Dancing for Life that it has been using the service mark "Dance for Life" to raise money since 1984.
Vital Options, whose 1985 and 1986 fundraisers in Los Angeles boasted prominent performers from the dance world, said Dancing for Life has infringed the service mark it registered in California in 1986 by continuing to use its name to raise money for AIDS research in New York.
The New York group has a major dance fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 5, five weeks before Vital Options' event at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles, the suit said. The Los Angeles group said in the suit that it named Baryshnikov as a defendant because he is a "promoter and organizer" of the New York organization.
The suit said Vital Options personnel told Baryshnikov that continued use of the "Dancing for Life" name would confuse the public and make it difficult for "Dance for Life" to attract big-name talent, but the group did not change its name.
Baryshnikov and officials from Dancing for Life could not be reached for comment