24 February 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Law firm dispute over ‘Emergent’ ends at South Carolina court

A trademark suit between two law firms over the use of the name ‘Emergent’ has come to a close at courts in California and South Carolina.

Perkins Law  Firm, based in Greenville, South Carolina, sued Washington firm Emergent Law for trademark infringement in December at the US District Court of the District of South Carolina.

The South Carolina firm argued that Emergent’s branding infringed a prior trademark registration owned by Perkins for an ‘Emergent Business and Technology Lawyers’ logo (US number 4,903,699).

A separate website for an entity calling itself Emergent Law Firm, featuring the logo, closely mirrors that of Perkins Law Firm, featuring the same attorneys and website layout.

In its reply denying the allegations, the Washington firm argued that Perkins’ claims should be thrown out as the South Carolina firm had not made genuine use of the logo, and had failed to police the mark.

Emergent Law also claimed that the South Carolina court had no jurisdiction over it as a defendant.

The Perkins complaint in South Carolina came just one day after Emergent had sued at the US District Court for the District of Northern California, seeking a court declaration that it had not infringed any of Perkins’ trademark rights.

The application for declaratory judgment at the California court came after a phone call and written correspondence between the parties.

According to court documents filed in the South Carolina case last Thursday, February 20, a line has now been drawn under the dispute, which has been dismissed with prejudice.

That filing came two days after Emergent voluntarily dismissed its suit in Northern California.

No documents have been filed at either court pertaining to a settlement between the parties, and the submission filed last Thursday did not specify the terms of any agreement between the firms.

Both firms appear to continue to be using the Emergent logos and branding cited in their respective complaints at the time of publication.

WIPR has contacted both law firms for comment.

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