Court Orders Texas Adjuster to Cease Using Lloyd’s Trademarked Names
A Texas public adjuster committed willful infringement when he formed a corporation and a limited liability company with the names “Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc.” and “Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London,” a U.S. district court ruled on Feb. 7.
The Southern District of Texas granted Lloyd’s permanent injunction in its bid to stop adjuster Eric Ramirez from using its federally trademarked names. Ramirez agreed to the motion.
Ramirez was retained by various policyholders in pursuing claims under insurance policies issued at Lloyd’s. After an appraisal umpire ruled against Ramirez’s position in one recent case, he filed lawsuits and administrative complaints accusing Lloyd’s of improper business practices.
Ramirez accused Lloyd’s of not properly registering to do business in Texas, failing to pay taxes which he presumably claims are due to the State of Texas, and seeking damages in the form of compensation he would have received from the policyholder if it had received a larger damage award on its claim.
Lloyd’s, the world’s premier insurance marketplace, does not sell or issue insurance policies in Texas.
Ramirez formed businesses with the state of Texas named “Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc.” and “Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London, LLC.” He registered those entities to do business in California and New York. Ramirez also filed an application to federally register the trademark CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYDS LONDON. Ramirez swore the company he formed in Texas was using that mark in interstate commerce in the insurance business, even though Ramirez, as a public adjuster, is not involved in the issuance of insurance policies.
In a response to Lloyd’s motion for permanent injunction, Ramirez told the court he is not doing business through those entities. Ramirez claims he created the entities to “reserve” the names, “prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement” and with the intent of eventually turning the entities over to the state or federal government.
The court found evidence that Ramirez accepted service of process intended for Lloyd’s, not for the companies he has formed. The evidence establishes Ramirez’s improper intent and bad faith motives in forming these entities, the court said.
“Ramirez’s actions are also not only likely to cause actual confusion but are causing actual confusion with Lloyd’s trademarks,” wrote judge Andrew S. Hanen.
Ramirez additionally harmed Lloyd’s reputation and good will by making a series of baseless and unsupported claims that Lloyd’s is operating illegally, said the court.
Lloyd’s marks are famous and are entitled to protection against dilution, the court found, ruling that a preliminary injunction is necessary to stop further injury to the substantial harm that has befallen Lloyd’s.
In granting Lloyd’s motion for permanent injunction, the court ordered that Ramirez shall be restrained from maintaining, owning, operating, or conducting any business through an entity using the words or phrases “Lloyd’s,” “Lloyd’s of London,” and “Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London” or any confusingly similar words or phrases.
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