In March of 2013, a lawsuit was filed against Ohio-based real estate firm Dotloop for using the word “loop” in its name. This lawsuit has recently been settled and the terms are confidential. Dotloop began its company in 2008 under the name “MLS Contracts”, but later decided to change its name to “Dotloop” in 2009 and filed a trademark for the name in 2011.
This action got the attention of California-based real estate firm LoopNet which filed the lawsuit in 2013 after disputing the trademark attempt with the Patent and Trademark Office. The lawsuit alleged that Dotloop infringed on its trademark by using the word “loop” in its name. LoopNet went on to explain that they had been using that mark “loop” for 20 years – building recognition and goodwill in the marketplace and online. LoopNet filed the lawsuit because it felt that Dotloop unfairly hitched their company to LoopNet’s prior success, essentially stealing their goodwill.
The lawsuit was settled before going to trial and the terms of the agreement and undisclosed.
Real Estate firms face many risks in operating their business. People may get upset if they feel discriminated against or unfairly treated. Someone could walk into the real estate firm’s office and trip on loose carpet. A professional liability claim can arise for failing to disclose certain material items on a house. Confidential client data could be lost or stolen – leading to a security breach.
While trademark infringement is not often top of mind for real estate firms, this case highlights the fact that it is a risk. Trademark infringement claims can also be insured. This coverage is tied in with a Business Owners Policy (BOP) – also known as a Business Package Policy. Typically included in this insurance policy is coverage for the property of the firm, general liability, hired automobile liability, and infringement of trademarks.
A well rounded risk management program contemplates all aspects of a real estate firm. Professional liability, general liability, property – and even trademarks. Contact us today for a comprehensive review of your firm’s risk and solution on how to protect it.