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2/2/2003

RE/MAX says ex-agent infringed on trademark

The Associated Press

DENVER — Real estate franchise giant RE/MAX International is demanding that a former agent who left to start his own residential brokerage company stop doing business under the name REStars.

RE/MAX, founded in Denver 30 years ago, contends REStars is too similar to its name.

It has sent former RE/MAX agent Tony English letters telling him he must change the name.

RE/MAX also wants English to drop the red, white and blue lettering on his signs — the same colors RE/MAX uses on its signs and hot-air balloon logo.

English said he chose the name REStars because REStars.com is easy for consumers to remember and alleged RE/MAX was trying to put him out of business.

RE/MAX chief executive Daryl Jessperson disputed that.

“This is a trademark dispute, not a real estate issue,” Jessperson said. “We spend millions and millions of dollars promoting and advertising locally and on national TV. We need to protect our trademarks.”

Jessperson said English also is violating a noncompete contract he signed when he was a RE/MAX agent.

English nevertheless contends that his former company is violating his rights to free speech.

He said he planned to give RE/MAX an answer in a week.