Later the Graham Center issued this statement:
(New York, NY) On July 2, 2002, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed that the Martha Graham Center and School have valid exclusive rights to the use of the "Martha Graham" trademark and name for all purposes associated with their mission.
In January 2001, Ronald Protas sought an injunction against the Martha Graham Center and Martha Graham School to prevent them from using the "Martha Graham" in their names. In that lawsuit Protas claimed that he was the rightful owner of the name, ballets choreographed by Martha Graham and related sets and costumes.
The Court held a trial on the portion of the lawsuit related to the name (referred to as the "trademark" case) in March-April 2001. The Judge issued a decision on the trademark in August 2001 finding that the Center and School had the common law rights to the name. The portion of the case relating to ownership of the ballets, sets and costumes was separately tried before the same Judge in April of 2002. The Court has not yet issued a decision on that portion of the case.
Marvin Preston, IV, Executive Director of the Center, stated "We are very pleased with the decision of the Court of Appeals. This decision validates that we--not Ronald Protas--are the true owners of the Martha Graham name for use with dance performance, fund-raising relating to dance or educational instruction."