Daytona Beach company sued for allegedly infringing on RE/MAX’s trademark

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

You might not think that a big company like real estate giant RE/MAX would bother with a much smaller Daytona Beach competitor. But you’d be wrong.

Recently, RE/MAX sued Daytona Property Management, alleging that its use of white, red and blue bars in its promotions infringed on RE/MAX’s trademark covering its recognizable tri-color bands.

A trademark is a symbol, word or phrase used to distinguish the products of one seller from those made by another. No company could trademark, say, the color blue in itself (i.e. exclude everyone else from using any shade of blue for any reason), but it could trademark a particular shade of blue or a certain distinctive use of the color blue in advertising and/or marketing, especially if it is in connection with the sale of real estate.

RE/MAX first became aware of Daytona Property Management’s promotions in 2008 and has tried to convince the company that its promotions infringe on its trademark, but to no avail. RE/MAX has now filed suit in federal court and wants Daytona

Property Management to stop using its current logo and to destroy the existing signs that it believes violate its trademark.
For its part, Daytona Property Management has not commented publicly on the lawsuit.

What do you think – does it make sense that RE/MAX can try to stop a smaller company (which probably isn’t much of a business threat) from using a design somewhat similar to its own trademark, or does that seem like overkill?

Source: The Daytona News-Journal, “Daytona firm accused of trademark infringement,” Tom Knox, May 5, 2012