TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal judge in Florida has issued a scathing ruling against the state-run Florida Virtual School (FLVS). U.S. District Court Judge Gregory A. Presnell criticized FLVS for pursuing a lawsuit against its private competitor, K12 Inc., calling the school a “trademark bully.” The judge deemed FLVS’s trademark infringement claims as “feeble” and lacking credible evidence. In addition, the judge accused FLVS of making misrepresentations to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
FLVS had argued that it held exclusive rights to the phrase “Florida online school” when used to describe schooling options in the state. However, the judge dismissed this argument, stating that FLVS was attempting to use its weak trademarks to bully its competitors. Furthermore, FLVS’s damages claims were rejected by the judge, who concluded that the evidence presented did not warrant the millions of dollars sought.
As a sub-agency of the Florida Department of Education, FLVS has a monopoly-like status in the state and is the primary provider of online courses to school districts. Its combined revenues in 2022 totaled over $372 million, primarily funded by Florida tax dollars. On the other hand, K12 Inc., a leader in online education, offers courses and programs to schools nationwide and is an approved provider of online programs and courses in Florida.
K12 Inc. responded to the ruling, emphasizing that FLVS’s claims were “frivolous and without merit” and that the litigation was a waste of taxpayer money. The company vowed to continue defending itself against such unjust lawsuits in the best interest of the students and families they serve. FLVS has remained silent since the release of the decision.
In conclusion, a federal judge has strongly criticized the Florida Virtual School, referring to it as a “trademark bully” and rejecting its claims against K12 Inc. The judge found FLVS’s trademark infringement claims to be weak and unsupported by credible evidence. Furthermore, FLVS’s damages claims were deemed unjustifiable. K12 Inc. has deemed the ruling as clear and plans to continue defending itself against frivolous litigation. FLVS, a sub-agency of the Florida Department of Education, holds a monopoly-like status in Florida as the primary provider of online courses to school districts.