Posts

The Battle for Name: San Francisco Sues Oakland

It is expected that by May 9th, through a second vote by the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners, the new name for the local airport will be finally approved


In April, the Alameda County Oversight Board unanimously supported (www.oaklandairport.com/port-of-oakland-welcomes-alameda-countys-unanimous-endorsement-of-proposed-airport-name-modification) renaming the Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK) to "San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport". This decision was endorsed by the business community, trade partners, and tourist stakeholders in Oakland, Tri-Valley, and Berkeley. Oakland Airport staff are already prepared to begin implementing changes to the name with airlines, other airports, and local agencies.

OAK serves as the closest airport for nearly 60% of the Bay Area population. According to Lena Tam, chair of the board, it is an economic engine for the region, and the renaming will protect and create jobs. It will also contribute to improving the environmental situation in the area: vehicles will travel fewer miles, reducing carbon emissions.

However, this idea did not sit well with the authorities in San Francisco, as they believe it will lead to confusion and financial losses. They are convinced that Oakland deliberately included their city's name in the airport's name to manipulate tourists who are not familiar with the "geography of the bay". After all, the city owns the trademark "San Francisco International Airport," commonly referred to by the three-letter code SFO.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu demanded in his letter that the Oakland Airport leadership choose any other name option that does not include a reference to San Francisco. "The new name will cause confusion and chaos among travelers, which will harm the tourism industry of the entire region. We are already seeing at least one airline using the new name, indicating that SFO has already suffered economic harm," writes the attorney. "We want the entire Bay Area to thrive as a tourist destination and expand our offerings for visitors, but renaming is neither a legal nor practical way to achieve this."

However, Oakland authorities are not backing down from their idea. They insist that the decision to rename does not infringe on the San Francisco airport's trademark.

San Francisco authorities stated that they are forced to file a lawsuit against their neighbor across the bay. According to the lawsuit, San Francisco owns the federal trademark registration for "San Francisco International Airport" from the first date of commercial use in 1954. The document seeks to impose a court order against the proposed name and declare that Oakland has violated the SFO trademark.
FEATURED