Express Homebuyers USA, LLC Wins Another Court Decision That the Phrase “We Buy Houses” Cannot Be Trademarked and That It is Not Liable for Damages
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 30, 2018--Express Homebuyers USA, LLC (“EHB”), a Virginia-based company that has purchased and rehabilitated over 2,500 homes, today obtained a ruling in its favor dismissing all claims for damages brought by WBH Marketing, Inc. (“WBH”). WBH sought in excess of $40 million.
WBH brought claims for false advertising, trade libel, and conspiracy. On August 15, 2018, the court declared that the trademarks “we buy houses” and “webuyhouses.com” were generic and should be canceled. The court reaffirmed that ruling as well today, holding that, because WBH’s request for reconsideration “disclose[d] no clear error of law or fact in the [earlier] Memorandum Opinion, [WBH’s] Motion for Reconsideration must be denied.”
Today’s rulings bring an end to the fourteen-month litigation between EHB and WBH, with EHB winning across-the-board on all claims and on all of its defenses.
In a fifteen-page written opinion, Judge T.S. Ellis, III of the Eastern District of Virginia concluded that WBH failed to present any facts to support its damages claims. On the false advertising claims, Judge Ellis found that WBH failed to establish any correlation between the alleged false statements and actual harm to WBH. Citing the testimony of its CEO, Jeremy Brandt, WBH could not establish and did not know “who chose not to contact or do business with WBH” in light of the alleged false advertisements.
The court also found that statements such as WBH was “wrong” in enforcing its trademarks, and that WBH was a “trademark bully” were non-actionable opinions because they were nothing more than EHB’s “subjective assessment of WBH’s commercial activity.” Indeed, the court noted that the undisputed facts established that Jeremy Brandt made statements such as “That’s how we roll. Facebook page – gone.” Additionally, Dev Horn, another executive at WBH, stated that WBH needed to “scare the sh*t” out of certain real estate investors and that WBH should “GET THOSE MOTHER F*****S,” referring to specific real estate investors.
Finally, the court noted there was “abundant evidence” of WBH directing third parties to stop using “we buy houses” in a variety of online advertisements and physical signs. Those communications, the court found, “were often accompanied by warnings about the legal consequences of trademark infringement.” As such, the court dismissed the claims for false advertising and defamation.
Because those claims were dismissed, the court likewise dismissed WBH’s claims for business and common law conspiracy under Virginia law, concluding that there was no underlying legally actionable conduct.
Brad Chandler, CEO of Express Homebuyers, said, “I’m big on justice in the world and today justice has been served for Express Homebuyers and real estate investors across the United States.”
Express Homebuyers is represented by Joseph J. Aronica, Ugo Colella, Nicole K. McLaughlin, and John J. Zefutie, Jr. of Duane Morris LLP. Direct all inquiries to Ugo Colella at email@example.com.
About Express Homebuyers ( www.ExpressHomebuyers.com )
Founded by Brad Chandler and Jud Allen, Express Homebuyers has been a pioneer in hassle-free home buying since 2003. Express Homebuyers purchases homes from sellers who are in need of a quick and easy sale at a fair price, without expensive broker fees or closing costs. Express Homebuyers has recently started buying homes in many markets across the U.S. Using a simple three-step process, Express Homebuyers has helped thousands of homeowners sell their homes quickly. Please direct all inquiries to Brad Chandler at Brad@ExpressHomebuyers.com.
About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s legal and business challenges through the collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally.
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CONTACT: For Express Homebuyers USA:
Duane Morris LLP
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA VIRGINIA
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES LEGAL COMMUNICATIONS ADVERTISING CONSTRUCTION & PROPERTY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING & REAL ESTATE OTHER CONSTRUCTION & PROPERTY
SOURCE: Express Homebuyers USA, LLC
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PUB: 08/30/2018 01:51 PM/DISC: 08/30/2018 01:51 PM