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RE/MAX Sues Local Realtor for Trademark Infringement Over Blue, White, and Red Sign Background

On April 5, 2013, RE/MAX, LLC (“RE/MAX”) filed a trademark lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia against Cumming, Georgia-based McFarland Realty Enterprises, Inc. and two of its principals (collectively, “McFarland”).  The complaint lists federal counts of trademark infringement and unfair competition, and state law counts of dilution, violation of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, and violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-390 et seq

RE/MAX, or its affiliated company, is the named registrant on the federal registrations identified in its complaint, namely, U.S. Service Mark Registrations Nos. 1,702,048 (“the ’048 Registration”),1,691,854, and 1,720,592.  For example, the ’048 Registration recites an issue date of July 21, 1992 and a first-use-in-commerce date of January 1, 1974, for “Franchising services, namely, offering technical assistance in the establishment and/or operation of real estate brokerage firms.”[1] 

RE/MAX’s complaint displays the images below and characterizes the signs shown therein as “blue-over-white-over red signs that are confusingly similar to the RE/MAX Marks.”

RE/MAX alleges that in September 2011, and in February, March, and April 2012, it sent correspondence to McFarland noting its objections to these signs, but that McFarland has not responded.

The complaint seeks injunctive and monetary relief, including “exemplary damages” and attorneys’ fees due to alleged willful infringement and alleged willful acts of unfair competition.

The case is RE/MAX, LLC v. McFarland Realty Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 1:13-cv-1126-WSD, filed 04/05/13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and assigned to U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr.
 


[1] The ’408 Registration was amended in 2012 to depict the registered image in color. Also, under recited services, the words “and insurance” now appear in square brackets.

Copyright © 2021 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume III, Number 100
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