Dewberry Eng’rs v. Dewberry Grp.

Full title: DEWBERRY ENGINEERS INC., a New York corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DEWBERRY GROUP, INC., f/k/a Dewberry Capital Corporation, a Georgia corporation, Defendant-Appellant. Dewberry Engineers Inc., a New York corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dewberry Group, Inc., f/k/a Dewberry Capital Corporation, a Georgia corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

Court: United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Date published: Aug 9, 2023

Facts

Two companies that operate in the real estate development industry have spent

years embroiled in a dispute over their shared name: “Dewberry.” This appeal concerns their latest spat—Dewberry Engineers has sued Dewberry Group to quell the latter’s use of several new insignias it developed as part of its rebrand. Dewberry Engineers owns federal trademark rights to the “Dewberry” mark and claims Dewberry Group’s rebranding efforts infringe that mark and breach an agreement struck between the sparring corporations over a decade ago. The district court sided with Dewberry Engineers in the proceedings below, assessing a nearly $43 million profit disgorgement award against Dewberry Group for its infringement, enjoining it from further breaches of its agreement with Dewberry Engineers, and ordering it to pay attorneys’ fees for forcing Dewberry Engineers to litigate an exceptional case of trademark infringement.

Issue

Decision

Because I find that the district court did not properly consider the likelihood of confusion factors in the light most favorable to the Dewberry Group, I would vacate the order granting summary judgment as to Dewberry Engineers’ trademark infringement claim and the order granting the injunctive, disgorgement of profits, and attorney’s fees relief. And even were the order granting summary judgment proper, I would vacate the award for disgorgement of profits based on the improper consideration of revenues from separate, non-party entities affiliated with the Dewberry Group.

I respectfully dissent.

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