The trademark for “We Buy Houses” has been a thorn in the side of real estate investors for years. The threat of being sued for infringing on the trademark has upset many in real estate investing and has even been considered an insult to the industry to have such a generic phrase trademarked.
Finally, a judge has ruled against the “We Buy Houses” trademark & struck it down.
Recently, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III of the Eastern District of Virginia, concluded the trademarks “We Buy Houses” & “Webuyhouses.com” are generic & should be canceled. As found by the court, the phrase “we buy houses” has been used in the industry since as early 1898.
Judge Ellis said the cancellation of the trademarks was “logical” because “allowing one member (of the real estate industry) to trademark the phrase ‘we buy houses’ would be the equivalent of allowing a professional football team to trademark ‘we play football’ or a fast-food chain to trademark ‘we sell burgers.’” Judge Ellis then dismissed WBH Marketing’s claim against Express Homebuyers for infringing on the trademarks & threw out WBH’s multi-million dollar lawsuit claim for damages.
With the “We Buy Houses” trademark basically in the trash can, a couple other “generic” trademark holders in the real estate investing industry can also kiss their chances goodbye of ever winning a lawsuit. As a result, you will start seeing a lot more signs, t-shirts and other “swag” with the terms “We Buy Houses” or “I Buy Houses”.