United States – The US Supreme Court on Monday scheduled a hearing in a USD 43m trademark battle over the “Dewberry” name between a Virginia and Georgian real estate developer and contracted them to determine when a court may award a rival company the infringing party’s profits as part of the remedy.

The justices accepted an appeal by Atlanta’s Dewberry Group to the lower court in the case in which they favored Fairfax, Virginia’s Dewberry Engineers. The court will recuse itself to address the case at its next term, which starts in October, as reported by Reuters.

Judicial Proceedings and Rulings

In a document filed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, U. S. District Judge Liam O’Grady punished Dewberry Group and awarded Dewberry Engineers USD 43 million of the profits he deemed to have been derived from the intentional infringement of the trademark. In 2023, the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals endorsed all of the O Grady decisions.

Evolution and Disputes Over Branding

Dewberry Engineers, a consulting engineering firm, started in the 1950s and later diversifying into real estate development services in the southeast region. It was founded in 1989 by John Dewberry and operates through several affiliates offering the same services as Dewberry & Davis.

Dewberry Engineers first took legal action against Dewberry Group, which was formerly called Dewberry Capital, for infringement on the name trademark in 2006. The companies agreed on a settlement in the year 2007.

Dewberry Capital was renamed Dewberry Group in 2017, and it started extending its services by creating subbrands, some of which are Dewberry Living, Dewberry Office, and Studio Dewberry. Dewberry Engineers applied pressure by issuing cease-and-desist letters to Dewberry Group after it filed for federal trademarks on the brand names.

Future Implications

Dewberry Group informed the Supreme Court in February that the other lower courts had erred when they sought to hold the companies liable for the actions of affiliates who were not included in the case, as reported by Reuters.

“Allowing plaintiffs to bulldoze corporate distinctions in this manner threatens broad, harmful consequences,” argued Dewberry Group to the justices.