Ancestry.com Loses a Trademark Case Against DNA Diagnostics Center for the Marketing of “AncestryByDNA”

Last year, Ancestry.com filed a trademark infringement law suit against DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (“DDC”) in the Ohio Southern District Court in Cincinnati. The lawsuit alleged that DDC’s use of the “AncestrybyDNA” brand and trademark was an infringement of Ancestry.com’s trademark of “AncestryDNA” and was causing confusion amongst consumers. Some people were purchasing DNA services from DDC without realizing they were not dealing with Ancestry.com.

It appears that Ancestry.com has lost the case.

DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (“DDC”) has issued a press release stating:

FAIRFIELD, Ohio, May 3, 2016 — DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (“DDC”) – one of the world’s largest DNA testing companies – announced that the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio found its DNA tests sold under the “AncestrybyDNA” brand and trademark were in the market years prior to the introduction of Ancestry.com’s “AncestryDNA” branded DNA test. As such, the Honorable Judge Sandra Beckwith concluded that DDC may continue using the word “ancestry” and its AncestrybyDNA trademark to sell its DNA tests.

The Federal Court also determined that: (1) DDC and its predecessor have been using the AncestrybyDNA brand for ancestry DNA testing since 2002 and obtained a trademark registration in 2008; and (2) there was no confusion in the marketplace between DDC and Ancestry.com until 2012, when Ancestry.com entered the DNA test space with its new AncestryDNA trademark. Judge Beckwith concluded there was “confusion caused by [Ancestry.com’s] introduction of its junior ANCESTRYDNA mark to consumers rather than by DDC’s use of its mark ANCESTRYBYDNA or by DDC’s use of descriptive terms such as ‘ANCESTRY DNA Testing’ and ‘ANCESTRY DNA Test.'”

As a result of the Court’s ruling, DDC will continue to use the “AncestrybyDNA” brand to market its proprietary ancestry DNA tests, as it has done for years.

About DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC)

DDC, founded over 20 years ago, is one of the world’s largest DNA testing companies with offices in Fairfield, Ohio (United States) and London, England (United Kingdom). DDC offers DNA testing for paternity and family relationships, forensics, genetic traits of animals, cell line authentication, and ancestry.

Since acquiring DNA Print Genomics in 2009, DDC has performed the testing and marketing of its ancestry products, worldwide. DDC will launch its newest ancestry DNA test in 2016, utilizing an advanced autosomal-based large SNP array and a proprietary algorithm to provide unmatched specificity of one’s ancestral origins.

DDC is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), The Ministry of Justice, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA). DDC is also accredited by ACLASS to meet the international standards of ISO 17025 and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors / Laboratory Accreditation Board-International (ASCLD/LAB). For more information, please visit www.dnacenter.com.

8 Comments

Reblogged this on familytreegirldotcom and commented:
Dick Eastman shares information on the case AncestryDNA filed against AncestrybyDNA. Wow! To the average person, in my opinion, if they order AncestrybyDNA would think they are getting AncestryDNA. I feel it is a play to get business. They aren’t ancestry.com and don’t have a green shakey leaf. What do you think? Thanks for Sharing Dick!

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    Did you somehow miss the fact that DDC had been using that name TEN YEARS before Ancestry.com got into the DNA business? DDC even had their trademark registered four years before Ancestry got into the business. The court came to the correct conclusion.

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    AncestrybyDNA had the name first! Ancestry.com is the one that copied and may be using the name just to get business. Shame on them!

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I agree with the court’s decision. You would have thought Ancestry.com would have investigated the use of the word “ancestry” for anything. These days, there are many companies that are trying to make a business of anything to do with genealogy, since it is so popular. Ancestry.com is not making the smartest moves lately.

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Yep, abt. TIME the “bully” in the genealogy field LOST some thing… they were trying to put the “little” guy out of business, and then take them over no doubt… as a failing corp….. Looks like to me that the JUDGE should also have ruled that the A.COM could NO LONGER use the AncestrybyDNA and that THEY should pay DNA some MONEY for damages to their reputation, and ALL the court costs involved here!! I just hate “bullies”………

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There is precedent in the courts in ruling in favor of the more recent trademark where the earlier trademark results in consumer confusion over which company they are dealing with. Ancestry.com had their trade name for the company prior to DDC using the name AncestryByDNA. I really believe that DDC realized that eventually Ancestry would get into the autosomal DNA business and may have chosen the name they did as a means to trade on the already established Ancestry.com name. I don’t think there is any question that the name causes consumer confusion and many feel they have been “had” by scam artists. DDC was not using ANY name even remotely similar to Ancestry before they chose this name for their product. That is suspect to me. It reminds me of the people who buy up domain names in anticipation of a celebrity or company wanting it and then sell it to them for a profit.

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    THIS sounds like a very good corporate Lawyer, gaming the system for their client……..

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    the word ancestry is not trademarked because it’s generic, so Ancestry.com has to use “Ancestry.com”.

    Chrysler tried to do same to a man named Jeep Molnar and the little guy won in case of Chrysler vs Jeep’s Bar.

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