Cobra vs. Cobra

A plot twist in the G.I. Joe movie? No, just a new development in an item we wrote about last week: press releases put out by Houston-based Cobra Oil & Gas. Co.
Wichita Falls-based Cobra Oil & Gas Corp. (note the “Corp.” vs. “Co.” for the Houston firm) has filed suit in a Houston federal court saying the local firm has committed trademark infringement and unfair competition.
They argue Cobra Oil & Gas Corp. has been using that name for 30 years, the Houston “Co.” just since 2005. It has led to much confusion, including calls from investors claiming they have their money in the privately held Wichita Falls firm when it’s really the Houston company.
Even a listing for the Houston firm in the business pages of the New York Times mixes the information of the companies. It gives the Houston company name, address and phone number but says it “operates producing properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas” (it doesn’t, that’s the Wichita Falls corporation) and links to the corporation web site.
Jeff Dillard, president of “the corporation” says his company has sent letters to the Houston company asking it to stop using its name, but there has been no response. Thus, the lawsuit.
We’ve sent e-mails, left phone messages and stopped by the offices of “the company” but have not heard back, either.
Meanwhile, Houston-based Cobra continues its PR push, with another release today from Beacon Equities saying it rates the company a “speculative buy.” It looks like an independent research analysis at first, but the boilerplate at the bottom of the release notes:

“BeaconEquity is a Web site wholly owned by BlueWave Advisors, which has been compensated six thousand five hundred dollars directly from CGCA as a marketing budget to manage a comprehensive investor awareness program including the creation and distribution of this report as well as other investor relations efforts.”