ICC and NFPA Settle Differences Out of Court


The International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have agreed to settle their legal differences outside of court. According to NFPA, ICC has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum of money to cover the association’s legal fees, costs, and other expenses related to this and two other litigations.

According to ICC, neither party admitted wrong doing in any of the three different court cases, which involved alleged copyright and trademark issues.

“The time had come to put all these disputes behind us,” says ICC COO Rick Weiland. “We would rather focus on serving our members and the public than continue to spend a lot of time and money on lawsuits.”

In 2002, ICC sued NFPA in Chicago federal court for copyright infringement with regards to NFPA’s Building and Construction and Safety Code (NFPA 5000).

In 2003, NFPA brought a suit against ICC for trademark infringement and for violating a 1999 settlement agreement. The suit involved ICC’s use of NFPA’s International Electrical Code trademark and others.

The third dispute involved the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the use of the phrase, “Certified Building Official.” This, too, has been resolved in such a manner that NFPA will now be able to register its certification marks, “NFPA-Certified Building Official” and “NFPA-CBO.”

Under the terms of the ICC/NFPA settlement, ICC has agreed not to use NFPA’s trademark and to remedy the possibility of other trademark infringements in the future.

ICC also withdrew its lawsuit with prejudice. This means that ICC can not take similar action against NFPA with regards to the same charge.

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