frog-prince.jpgSan Diego – HomeVestors of America, Inc., a franchised business that buys up bank-owned and hard-to-sell homes for cash, has been busy lately protecting its WE BUY UGLY HOUSES trademark.  HomeVestor’s business has flourished since the housing bubble popped, making it increasingly aggressive with protecting its intellectual property against third-party infringers.

HomeVestors is the #1 buyer of houses in the U.S.  Only the company’s franchisees are authorized to use its registered trademarks in connection with their franchised business.  Over the past five years, HomeVestors has continued to rank in the respected Franchise Business Review’s “Top 50 Franchises,” which recognizes the franchisors with the greatest franchisee satisfaction. 

Recently, HomeVestors has ramped up its fight against the use of variations of the WE BUY UGLY HOUSES trademark in domain names registered by third-parties who wish to attract consumers to their own competing websites.  In addition to trademark infringement, this type of infringement is considered to be cyber piracy under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C., Section 1125(d)(1) for which statutory damages can be awarded up to $100,000 per domain name. 

Since 2010, HomeVestors has successfully had more than six domain names transferred back to it that were illegally registered.  It is also in the process of transferring over more illegally-registered domains and has been successful at disabling many infringing websites and unauthorized Facebook pages. 

To some, WE BUY UGLY HOUSES may appear to be just a silly marketing phrase that cannot be owned or protected but that is not the case.  In fact, the phrase can function as a potentially strong trademark and thus any infringing uses must be policed for the company to retain rights.

“We have spent a great deal of time and money building our brand,” said David Hicks, HomeVestors’ Co-President.  “It is very important for us to maintain the strength of that brand for the benefit of our company and our franchisees.  We will continue to pursue those who would infringe upon our trademarks in the interest of hijacking our customers or discrediting our hard-earned reputation.”