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DELTA COUNTERSUES RETIREES FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

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Delta Air Lines has retaliated against a group of retirees who are suing the airline by filing its own suit accusing the group of trademark infringement.

The Atlanta-based carrier filed suit in federal court in Atlanta this week saying the Delta Retirees Association used "Delta" in its name without permission.The retirees sued Delta last week, claiming the airline misled them about benefits. The association was formed last winter by a group of 1992 early retirees.

The retirees' attorney, Larry Chesin, said the group's name is simply descriptive. "That's who they are. They're Delta retirees," he said.

"Legally, the name belongs to us," said Delta spokesman Bill Berry. "But the bigger thing is, why should these people be able to imply that they represent all Delta retirees when in fact they are a very small group out of a very big number who have no problem with Delta?"

The company's biggest retiree group is Delta Pioneers.