An article in Inmann News today has top real estate agents around the country outraged. According to Inmann, The Lones Group, a marketing and branding firm in Washington State filed a law suit against Daniel Rothamel, a well known blogger and Realtor. The Lones Group is upset because of Daniel’s use of the term Zebra in his moniker… the Real Estate Zebra and the zebra image in his logo.
In the Inmann article, The Lones Group claims The Real Estate Zebra is “unfairly diverting business” away from the company (The Lones Group) . It seems they have a “Zebra Report” and a “Zebra Blog” and feel Daniel is infringing on their trademark and brand.
Inmann’s coverage of the law suit has been met with a lot of social commentary. On my Facebook feed there were well over 100 comments and I don’t have a lot of real estate people in my friends list. The twitter sphere has seen a flurry of comments as well. So far, none have been favorable for the Lones Group who, surprisingly, sued a real estate agent when many of their clients are real estate agents.
The basis of the suit is trademark infringement. Lones Group uses a Zebra in their marketing and so does Daniel. Some wonder who will they sue next. Perhaps some of the following people/businesses should be on the look out for a cease and desist order as they have too have Zebra Affiliations.
Zebra. A band from New York. They actually have a picture of a Zebra on their entry page and they use the “Z” word in their name.
Zebra Technologies. A publically traded technology company who has the audacity to have a Zebra in their trademark and name. I hope their stock doesn’t tumble when they hear about the case law that could erupt from zebra infringement. Poor guys even own the URL zebra.com.
Wikipedia: I just looked and they have an entire page devoted to Zebras and never once mention the Lones Group. There must be some encroachment issues with that blatant a display and disregard for branding rights.
Zebra Tatoo and Body Piercing: This Berkeley, California company not only uses the name Zebra in their name, they publish the Zebra Catalog. Zebra Catalog is very similar to Zebra Report (a Lones Group publication) so I have to think they are on the Lones Group radar.
Zebra Pen Corporation: Same issues here as so many of the other potential litigants. They have used the “Z” word and their logo has a pattern in it that looks very much like zebra skin. I am not a zebra skin expert, yet I am afraid they probably fall into the mix of evil zebra companies.
The Zebra Restaurant and Wine Bar: I don’t think these guys are on the potential hit list. They only use the “Z” word and their logo has a faint zebra-like tone to it. Nothing too outrageous here and heck, they sell wine so they can’t be really evil.
Zebra Marketing: This poor multi-state marketing firm is surly on the list. They have the audacity to not only have the name Zebra going, they are a marketing firm and so is Lones Group. My god, how much business has the Lones Group lost to this firm due to brand confusion.
Zebra Imaging: This Texas company does digital holographic imaging. What scares the poop out of me (sorry for the graphic image) is they use the term image on their site as well as the “Z” word. Image sounds a lot like brand to many people and confusion could erupt. They are by no means out of the woods on this one; do I hear the word tort claim popping up for infringement here?
Ladies and Gents, I have to quit now. Every page on my Google search displays another company or person who is doing something with a zebra… I hope that didn’t come out wrong. There are companies who make mats. cakes, cars, apps, contact management systems and more. Everyone has either a Zebra in their name or logo. I am simply getting too depressed as the list of possible defendants grows.
One funny thing though… I scrolled through 15 pages of Google using the search term Zebra and never came across the litigant, The Lones Group. I figured it was too broad a search so I tried Zebra Marketing since they are a marketing firm. I gave up after page 5 on Google… honestly who ever goes past page 5. Perhaps they should sue whoever is in charge of their marketing next… they may actually have a case there.
The Urban Connection Team
The legal stuff that I borrowed from my buddy Nick Bastian who admitted borrowing it from Jay Thompson. Jay probably got it from himself as he is the guru of real estate bloggers.
I am not an attorney in any way, shape, or form. I consider Daniel Rothamel and his family (also parties to the lawsuit ) social media friends. And until yesterday, I had never heard of The Lones Group. I have no idea if they are good at what they do, nor do I really care – that’s not the point. The article above is simply my personal opinion, which I freely admit is biased and slanted due to my relationship with the Rothamel’s and my love of satire.