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Humana sues as Limbaugh backlash spills over

In this photo provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is shown. Limbaugh was arrested Friday, April 28, 2006, on prescription drug charges, with his attorney saying he has reached a deal with prosecutors that will eventually see the charges dismissed if he continues treatment for drug addiction. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Sheriff's Office)
In this photo provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is shown. Limbaugh was arrested Friday, April 28, 2006, on prescription drug charges, with his attorney saying he has reached a deal with prosecutors that will eventually see the charges dismissed if he continues treatment for drug addiction. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Sheriff's Office) AP

LOUISVILLE — A Kentucky-based health care company is suing to protect its name after being involuntarily drawn into the backlash over Rush Limbaugh's derisive comments about a Georgetown law student.

Louisville-based Humana, the parent company of Concentra Health Services, said in court filings it has received angry phone calls, emails and Web postings after an ad for an unrelated company's Concentra memory aid pills aired on Limbaugh's show Monday.

Humana has filed a request for a preliminary injunction, asking that the company marketing the Concentra pills, Preval Group of Portland, Maine, stop using the same name as Humana's subsidiary.

A message left for the Preval Group on Thursday was not immediately returned.

The roots of the dispute are in a newspaper ad Preval ran in Texas and on its Web site in October. Humana sent Preval a letter calling for an end to the advertising. Kenneth Viers, an attorney for Humana, said the use of the "Concentra" name to sell a pill infringed on Humana's trademark for its subsidiary.

The subsidiary, based in Addison, Texas, runs more than 320 medical centers in 40 states offering occupational medicine, urgent care, primary care and physical therapy.

"Specifically, we are concerned that customers may believe that Humana is the source of products and services being offered by Preval Direct and/or Preval Group or that those goods and services are endorsed by Humana," Viers wrote on Nov. 3.

Preval Group attorney Sean Sweeney wrote to Viers on Nov. 15, saying the memory pill and the Humana subsidiary were so dissimilar that no one would confuse the two based on an advertisement. Sweeney added that Preval has been considering rebranding the memory pill when the stock runs out in April.

"Accordingly, in order to ensure a prompt and amiable solution to this matter, Preval is willing to cease its use of the Concentra mark once it has depleted its current stock of the Concentra product," Sweeney wrote.

But, Humana said, the Preval Group didn't wind down the use of "Concentra" and instead upped it by broadening its advertising to a national level.

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