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Costa Mesa, CA, United States, 2008/01/20 - In the flash of a website, California’s largest Re/Max franchise changed its name from Re/Max All Cities Realty to Re/Max Marquee Partners. Apparently management is trying to distance this Re/Max from impending lawsuits.
Approximately December 1, in the flash of a website, California’s largest Re/Max franchise changed its name from Re/Max All Cities Realty to Re/Max Marquee Partners. Apparently management is trying to distance this Re/Max from the use of the registered trademark All Cities Realty® just before trial with the new name Re/Max Marquee Partners. The two mammoth lawsuits continue. Information is provided at the website.
In July 2005, All Cities Realty, Inc., after years of asking this Re/Max franchise to discontinue use the name and federal trademark “All Cities Realty®”, All Cities Realty, Inc. filed a federal legal action against the California Corporation, CF Real Estate Loans, Inc. who was doing business as Re/Max All Cities Realty. The federal legal action (case# 8:05-cv-00615-AHS-MLG) is for alleged federal trademark infringement and other issues. The federal case will be litigated in Orange County, California.
Then on July 19, 2006 All Cities Realty, Inc. filed a separate second lawsuit in State court against the corporation’s associated agents and brokers (case # BC355724). In this second lawsuit, each and every real estate agent and broker who has been affiliated with Re/Max All Cities Realty (CF Real Estate Loans, Inc.), since their "adoption" of the ALL CITIES REALTY® trademark back in August 2002 was named; a total of approximately 1700 real estate agents. The state case will be litigated in Los Angeles, California.
The Los Angeles case was paused by the court until the federal action is completed. The federal legal action has been winding its way through the court system now for more than two years and was slated for trial in January. The legal action was then continued by the court.
In December, a surprise decision by Kelli Todd the CEO of CF Real Estate Loans, Inc., and her vice president Dan Verdin, was to change the website and business name. They apparently decided the best thing to do was to change the name of the company from Re/Max All Cities Realty to Re/Max Marquee Partners before trial.
Joseph Miner, the president of All Cities Realty, Inc., said “What a great Christmas gift! Although it took this Re/Max more than five years to act we are elated and can’t thank Kelli Todd and Dan Verdin enough for finally changing the name of the company to a non-infringing name. This will allow us to proceed with our All Cities Realty® NetAgent™ program with no affiliation to Re/Max International. It is impossible to brand your own business when against your will, in a mega advertising campaign; you have been forcefully associated with a completely different real estate brokerage franchise.”
The office name has been changed to Re/Max Marquee Partners, but the All Cities Realty vs. Re/Max All Cities Realty legal battle continues according to Mr. Miner. There has been no settlement in the case stated Mr. Miner. The litigation continues against the corporation and the 1700 agents named in the state lawsuit. There are still 5+ years of infringement that will be dealt with in court. “This is like one big hit and run; they have done their damage now that we are getting close to court, they are moving on. It won’t matter because we have gigabytes and gigabytes of electronic evidence to show the jury just as if they were watching the Internet in real time. They have done close to 20 billion dollars in sales using our federally trademarked name and we’re not too happy about that.” stated Joseph Miner.
Re/Max CEO, Kelli Todd Amundson boldly has stated they will indemnify each and every agent who has used the All Cities Realty® name. This Re/Max has filed court documents that state they will indemnify each and every real estate agent who has used the All Cities Realty® name upon the real estate agents’ request. The case has been moved to "complex litigation" and the costs just for a first appearance will be more than $500 per agent. This could amount to more than $800,000 for first appearance court fees for Re/Max All Cities Realty [now Re/Max Marquee Partners]. This means that the first act of indemnification by this Re/Max could cost it more than $800,000 before any other litigation activity occurs, including court and attorney fees. All Cities Realty’s president Joseph Miner stated he will soon be requesting a full listing of agents for the entire 5+ year period from the Department of Real Estate to complete the listing of agents for the California legal action.
One of the aspects of this case goes by the legal name of the doctrine of Reverse Confusion. This is generally where a large company adopts an existing smaller company’s trademark and the smaller company files suit. Famous cases of reverse confusion include the Ford® “Mustang”, GoodYear® “Big Foot” and Microsoft® “Explorer” cases.
Interested parties should visit the informational website.