Phi vs. Psi: Gender-neutral “frarority” sued by gay fraternity for copyright infringement

When Delta Lambda Psi opened its first chapter at University of California Santa Cruz in 2005, it was creating the world’s first “frarority,” a gender-neutral Greek community for LGBTQA members. @@ frarority has since expanded to open a chapter in Northeastern Illinois University, and a club of the same name has been started at the University of Oregon.@@

While Delta Lambda Psi could be considered groundbreaking by some, apparently the frarority and its concept are a little too familiar to Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity established in 1986 for gay, transgender, bisexual and progressive men that is suing Delta Lambda Psi for copyright infringement. The fraternity filed a suit against Delta Lambda Psi, including the UO orgnization, late last month at the Eugene federal courthouse.

According to The Register-Guard, the suit claims Delta Lambda Psi was established after gay students encountered representatives from Delta Lambda Phi at at 2005 conference. The fraternity claims Delta Lambda Psi is benefitting from Delta Lambda Phi’s reputation, as the similarities in the two names have been a large source of confusion. Both organizations are often identified by the acronym DLP, which Delta Lambda Phi has used since 2001. Delta Lambda Phi believes this is a deliberate attempt to capitalize on the fraternity’s reputation, and that confusion will continue to worsen as the frarotity expands its trademark to the UO.

However, Delta Lambda Psi president D.J. Bott said the UO organization is an independent club separate from the frarority at UCSC, and further believes the complaint against Delta Lambda Psi is unfounded.@@

“We respect Delta Lambda Phi and the alternative that it provides for gay men. But, as a gender-neutral frarority, we do not compete with Delta Lambda Phi,” Bott said in an email Saturday. “There are plenty of other student groups out there with ‘Delta’ or ‘Lambda’ in their names … Delta Lambda Phi also does not own the exclusive rights to use the ‘Delta’ or ‘Lambda’ names or symbols.”

Delta Lambda Phi stated that the lawsuit was filed only after Delta Lambda Psi refused to seriously address the problem, and had a delayed response when the fraternity tried to settle the matter amicably. However, Bott said, while the frarority responded to the first complaint, the second was made during the summer when school and the club were not in session.

“We responded again once school was in session,” Bott said. “But then Delta Lambda Phi rushed to court.”


Samantha Matsumoto

Samantha Matsumoto