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real-estate-trademark

We’re All In BIGGGG Trouble

Some things stop me dead in my tracks.  Not many, but some.  THIS is definitely one of those times and I had to stop what I was doing and immediately write this entry to share with all of you. I’m trippin’.

I get alot of questions sent to me through this website – some are crazy as hell, some are basic, and some are just down right bizarre. But when I got this one today, it made me due some research.  It was a question that I couldn’t answer.

A fan of the MOB sent me a very simple email that said “I got an email from (Name Being concealed for obvious reasons) today saying I have to quit using we buy houses in all my advertizing because he has it trademarked? Is that even possible and now what do i do? its in all of my marketing!!!”

My first reply to him was “HAHAHAHAHAHA He can’t do that. That’s stupid.” And I went on about my day. At that time, I was pretty sure that I was right. Until he sent me the NEXT email.

Then within 5 minutes, I received another email from him that made me raise my eyebrow. He forwarded me the email that he received from this person. Here it is for your viewing enjoyment (try not to shit in your pants, please).

 

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.26.11 PM

 

 

So as you can see from the above email, this guy is claiming that the phrase “We Buy Houses” belongs to him through a Federal Trademark.

So I looked this up myself on the Federal Trademark website. And SURE AS SHIT, it’s a trademarked phrase!!! I cannot believe what I’m seeing here.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.18.47 PM

 

I mean, who DOESN’T use the phrase “We Buy Houses” in their marketing and advertising?  And just how far can this trademark infringement be enforced?

Please, share your thoughts and concerns with me on this, and if there are any attorney’s reading, CHIME IN!!!!!

 

41 thoughts on “We’re All In BIGGGG Trouble”

  1. Change it to "We Buy Homes". That way technically you're not in violation of the trademark. Also, Google changes keywords around so if someone types in Houses, Homes will show up as well since it is a related word.

  2. Christopher Seder it's so generic I wouldn't think you should have to file a petition for this but it sounds like i'm wrong.

  3. BonAppetit De Lossantos

    This is horsesh*t! I can guarantee he didn't create it, and anyone that can prove they used the term before this filing should take his ass to court!!!

  4. Richard Robinette

    "We Buy Houses®" is called a "descriptive" mark–a mark that describes the good or service being offered. Descriptive marks are only as good as their ability to take on a "secondary meaning" in the marketplace beyond the descriptive nature–they must have been used so much that actual consumers tend to associate the mark with a specific company. Think Sharp televisions or Steak & Shake. People know that Sharp televisions and Steak & Shake are not merely telling you that some random television is sharp or some random restaurant will serve you a steak and shake. "We Buy Houses," on the other hand, virtually never triggers thoughts of the SPECIFIC company that owns the mark.

    The standard for trademark infringement is consumer confusion. There's an 8 factor test that courts use, and I think "We Buy Houses" fails because of three of them:

    The strength of the plaintiff's mark (super weak because it has no secondary meaning–nobody associates We Buy Houses with only that one company);
    Evidence of actual confusion by consumers (likely none since nobody would think the defendant's We Buy Houses sign must be offering the plaintiff's services);
    The intent of the defendant in adopting its mark (simply to tell people that they buy houses).

  5. Tracy, you're smarter than this. You should trademark "For Rent" so that every time someone wants to use those words they have to pay you a licensing fee. While you're at it, pick up "For Sale by Owner" too 🙂

  6. Right and if they patent FOR SALE I guess every gd real estate agent in the country will have to pay them royalties. I heard about the Co##$ suckers sending out those letters. Ignore those MF. This would never hold up in court they wouldnt win its to generic.

  7. They could patent there specialised logo and slogan1800webuyhouses etc and say you cant use it but not the phrase we buy houses. Trust me they would never win in court with that nonsense.

  8. I own the trademark and trade name we buy houses denver. I had the same company send me an email . Here is what they can and can not do. You can onky get in trouble if you use the exact phrase we buy houses as your business name or copy write . If it’s used as a phrase describing your service or educational purposes the term is not infringement.

  9. http://marketing.webuyhouses.com/dot-com-branding/

    Interesting link from their own website. See sentence with “actionable brand awareness” sentence.

    Seems to me their own marketing people are suggesting/admitting that the term “We Buy Houses” is so/too generic to consumers to even identify their own company. So they are adding the “.com” into the logo.

    Doesn’t this directly conflict with one of the requirements to make a trademark valid? That is, if use of the words/phrase by a competitor could confuse a user into thinking its that the competitor is the trademarked brand/company. However, isn’t this post admitting that the company itself is admitting that consumers don’t even identify “We Buy Houses” with the company that “owns” the trademark.

  10. The actual “we buy houses” trademark only covers “goods” (items/merchandise that can be sold). The trademark specifically covers real estate pamphlets, flyers, and paper signs, etc. as listed on the USPTO website that someone took a photo of at the top of this thread. The trademark does not cover real estate investing which is a “service” according the to the USPTO. The emails that WeBuyHouses.com are questionable at best and are basically used to scare people who do not know any better. If you are using the phrase “we buy houses” to offer real estate investing “services” and not to sell “goods” , then the trademark should not apply to you at all.

  11. This is typical Jeremy Brandt BS. We can all hurt his business by not buying his leads or licensing “his” brand. He is a lead generator for real estate investors using the following brands: 800.cash.offer; webuyhouses.com; fasthomeoffer.com; cashoffer.com I used to be an Ugly house franchisee in central fl and witnessed the bully tactics first hand. I’m sure his “brand” must be suffering financially since there’s a glut of competition and the importance of “search” when it comes to connecting motivated sellers to buyers. If we all resist we can overcome this business bully.

  12. This is just a scare tactic. I doubt they can do anything unless you opened another franchise business like theirs with a similar name. You can’t sue someone for describing what they do. I’d ignore it.

  13. We at 8 Day Home Sale use the phrase. I’m not too worried about it. I know Express Home Buyers got sued and are fighting the lawsuit. I just don’t see how such a simple phrase could be trademarked.

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