Robertson's school, Regent University, is suiting in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia alleging that "Georgia Regents University" is too similar and could create confusion. The Virginia school offers graduate courses online to students across the country, including Georgia.
Georgia officials have said their lawyers assured them that "regent" was so commonly used by the general public that no court would award trademark protection of it to the Virginia institution.
Dictionaries define a regent as an person who governs as a representative of a higher official, usually a king who is too young or ill to rule.
Robertson's school picked that name to show that its students were representatives of Jesus. The argument for the Augusta school to use the term is that the merger of the Georgia Health Sciences University with Augusta State University creates the first research-focused institution under the University System's Board of Regents, which did not exist when the state's other research universities like Georgia Tech were founded.
"In accordance with local court rules, no one affiliated with or representing Regent University will comment on this pending case," said Mindy Hughes, director of public relations at Regent University.
Court rules allow 45 days for Georgia officials to file a formal response to the lawsuit.