RE/MAX International and LendingTree have settled a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by RE/MAX in September 2003 against LendingTree.


Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.


The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, accused LendingTree of improperly using the RE/MAX trademark to lure consumers to its real estate agent referral service. The suit alleged that LendingTree’s Web site created the false impression that LendingTree represents the entire RE/MAX network and that RE/MAX and other major real estate franchisors have aligned themselves with one another to create LendingTree’s agent locator service.


LendingTree opposed RE/MAX International’s claims that it improperly used RE/MAX’s trademarks to describe members of its realty services network and denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing.


“LendingTree believes that it has always conducted itself properly and has entered into this settlement in order to avoid the continuing cost of litigation. We are pleased to put this litigation behind us,” LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda said in a statement announcing the settlement.


RE/MAX International Chairman Dave Liniger is known to be a fierce defender of the corporation’s trademarks, and the lawsuit wasn’t the first time the corporation used legal action to prosecute allegations of misuse of its trademarks.


“We place the highest priority on protecting our trademarks and the valuable goodwill that comes with those marks for the benefit of all of our brokers and agents in the RE/MAX network,” Liniger said in a statement. We are pleased that we were able to achieve those objectives and at the same time resolve this case with LendingTree in a way which allows both parties to avoid the continuing cost and distraction of litigation.” 


The RE/MAX franchise network is a global real estate system operating in more than 40 countries.


LendingTree, owned by InterActiveCorp, is an online mortgage lending and real estate exchange. The company in June 2003, was targeted by similar legal action brought by Cendant’s three franchisor companies, Century 21 Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate and ERA Franchise Affiliates. The companies accused LendingTree of service mark infringement, false advertising, false and deceptive business practices and unfair competition.


LendingTree at that time denied Cendant’s charges and said the claims were without merit. The case is still pending.




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