Thursday, October 8, 2009

Choice of Colors is Powerful in Public Recognition

The real estate powerhouse Re/Max won a ruling on the use of the colors red over white over blue in real estate signs in a Texas trademark-infringement case. The court said “A real estate yard sign is intended to catch the attention of people driving past. … In this context, the color and dominant design … can communicate a source to consumers viewing the signs from a distance, or while passing,”

Re/Max International Inc. of Denver, one of the world’s largest residential real estate brokerage companies, won a law suit in Texas federal court saying that Texas real estate brokerage firm Trend Setter Realty’s for-sale yard signs and other marketing materials infringe on Re/Max’s trademarked red-over-white-over-blue so-called “horizontal bar design”.

An order by the court grants Re/Max’s request that Trend Setter and its agents be prohibited from using signs, business cards, advertising and other materials that resemble Re/Max’s design.

Re/Max tried unsuccessfully to settle with Trend Setter before being forced to take the issue to the courts. Trend Setter alleged Re/Max’s design was generic and otherwise not protected by trademark law. More than 25 percent of respondents in a study thought that the design of the Trend Setter signs implied that the company was part of or affiliated with Re/Max.

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