The American division of the famed Swiss watch company Rolex claims that data technology firm RealPlus is infringing on its trademark by using the name R.O.L.E.X. for its residential property listing system, a new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says.
The R.O.L.E.X. technology, an abbreviation of RealPlus Online Listings Exchange, is used by the Real Estate Board of New York as the backbone of its multiple listing service known as NY1Residential.
Midtown-based Rolex Watch U.S.A. claims RealPlus and its managing director Eric Gordon are infringing on the timepiece maker’s trademark, the suit, filed Tuesday, says.
“[RealPlus'] use of this confusing and identical mark is likely to bring to mind [Rolex's] famous Rolex trademark… and dilute the distinctiveness of the Rolex trademark,” the complaint says.
This was not the only suit the watchmaker filed this week. The New York Post reported Rolex Watch filed suit against a Fort Greene deli owner, which operates the Rolex Deli at 700 Fulton Street. That suit was also filed Tuesday in federal district court in Manhattan, court records show.
Rolex says it first contacted RealPlus five years ago, when it sent a letter in 2006 notifying the technology firm about the alleged trademark violation. Then more recently, Rolex stepped up its pressure on RealPlus to change the name. That was one month after RealPlus announced in late September that an enhanced version of the system would be released, called R.O.L.E.X.2.0. Rolex sent letters Oct. 31 and Nov. 17, saying the company was violating its trademark.
Gordon was apparently sensitive to the claims of Rolex Watch, because he stressed to reporters this fall that the system be spelled with periods between the letters.
In September, it was reported that REBNY selected Stratus Data Systems to develop a new property listings transmission system, in place of RealPlus’ R.O.L.E.X.
Brian Brokate, a partner at law firm Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty representing Rolex, declined to comment other than to note that, “Trademarks are very valuable property and very valuable assets… [that] need to be protected.”
RealPlus, Gordon and Rolex either were not immediately available for comment or did not respond to a request for comment.