A Lewis Brisbois by any other name…
The post Fun Fact: You Can’t Just Name Yourself After A National Law Firm And Start Doing Business appeared first on Above the Law.


Because it’s probably trademark infringement.

Back in September, Lewis Brisbois filed a trademark infringement suit against a bunch of folks in Texas apparently running a mediation company named *checks notes* Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

As you likely already suspect, none of these defendants are named Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard, or Smith. There is a Jones though, which is so very close in the ubiquitous last name game, yet sadly does not count for credit.

Per Law360:

According to the suit, Bitgood and another man, Richard P. Jones, sued a residential development called Imperial Lofts LLC and two individuals earlier this year, alleging that they’d been improperly charged rental fees and hit with eviction petitions.

In March, the defendants in that case hired David Oubre, the managing partner of Lewis Brisbois-the-firm’s Houston office, to represent them.

In May, and unbeknownst to law firm Lewis Brisbois, Bitgood and Jones’ lawyer, Susan Norman, filed a notarized “assumed name certificate” for a mediation business named “Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith” at the clerk’s office in Fort Bend County, west of Houston.

This led to the foundation of an LLP with that name and even a second “assumed name certificate.” There were actual real-life lawyers involved in all of this! The mediation version of Lewis Brisbois then added the Lewis Brisbois that you and everyone else on the planet thinks of as defendants to the original case, guaranteeing that the law firm learned about the new business.

They also sent a business card:

The law firm chose to come and take it.

Fast forward to today:

The parties on the receiving end of a trademark infringement suit brought by Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP said Tuesday that they wouldn’t accept the terms of a permanent injunction put forward by the law firm, prompting a federal district judge to remark that he’s “never, ever seen anything like” the conduct by the parties.

It’s not just you, Your Honor.

What is the hangup over the permanent injunction? Are they trying to keep their options open so they can open DLA Piper Fine Food and Provisions?

“The terms are unnecessary, Draconian, and basically false,” [Defendant and attorney Susan Norman] said. “I’m not ever going to agree to an injunction against myself. I just cannot.”

The SEC makes people agree to “don’t do it again” injunctions all the time! This isn’t a wild condition. Especially where the brazenness involved gives the law firm reasonable pause when asked to take the defendants at their word.

Norman said she would “vigorously oppose” the granting of a permanent injunction and would “immediately have to appeal.”

Yeah, definitely try to sell an appellate court on that. That will turn out about as well as the “come and take it” gambit.

Judge Has ‘Never Ever Seen’ Acts In Lewis Brisbois TM Row [Law360]Lewis Brisbois Sues Lewis Brisbois In Texas Name Spat [Law360]

Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.