On October 4, 2012, Norcross-based The Delbridge Group, Inc. d/b/a 404-CUT-TREE ("Delbridge") filed a trademark action in the Atlanta Division against defendants 404-CUT-TREE, Inc. and BAM Tree Experts, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants").
Delbridge is the named owner of U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,934,225 ("the '225 Registration") for the mark 404-CUT-TREE® for "tree removal services," and of Georgia Service Mark Registration No. S-24222, registered on August 13, 2008 for the same mark, for "cutting, trimming, and pruning trees." Delbridge's Amended Complaint (filed Oct. 9) alleges, among other things that Delbridge "has been in the business of tree removal, cutting, pruning, and trimming, since December 3, 1997, and that it maintains the website www.404cuttree.com.
Delbridge alleges that Defendants are using the identical mark "404-CUT-TREE" with the intent to trade upon the "goodwill and extensive recognition that [Delbridge] had already established in the marketplace for tree removal services." The business name 404-CUT-TREE, INC. appears in the Georgia Secretary of State's website, listing the Cumming, Georgia address that Delbridge associates with the Defendants. That website lists defendant BAM Tree Experts, Inc. as having the same address. Delbridge charges that Defendants' registration of the "404-CUT-TREE" name with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, and their use of that name, was done with the "dominant purpose" of palming off its services as those of Delbridge," and of "confusing consumers and persons in the trade as to the source or origin of such services."
Asserted against Defendants are counts for infringement of a federally-registered mark, false designation of origin under § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and unfair competition under § 23-2-55 of the Official Code of Georgia. Delbridge requests injunctive relief, including an order that "Defendant 404-CUT-TREE, Inc. [ ] change its corporate name to a name which is not confusingly similar to 404-CUT-TREE." Delbridge also requests compensatory monetary relief in the form of actual damages of "at least $75,000" and Defendants' profits gained from use of the accused mark. Delbridge additionally seeks trebling of the damages or profits due to the alleged willfulness of the infringement, as well as attorneys' fees and costs.
The case is The Delbridge Group, Inc. d/b/a 404-CUT-TREE v. 404-CUT-TREE, INC. and BAM Tree Experts, Inc., No. 1:12-cv-3465-SCJ, filed 10/04/12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones.