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FLATS v. Flats: Developer's Lawsuit Claims Competitor Ripped Off Logo

By  Mina Bloom and Benjamin Woodard | April 24, 2015 5:41am 

 FLATS Chicago sued Three Corners Development over its logo for Flats on Devon.
FLATS Chicago sued Three Corners Development over its logo for Flats on Devon.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

UPTOWN — North Side developer FLATS Chicago is suing another development company for allegedly infringing on the copyright of its flagship brand.

FLATS filed a lawsuit Monday against Three Corners Development alleging it's using a "nearly identical" design logo to FLATS' own logo in their upcoming Edgewater residential and commercial development, The Flats on Devon.

FLATS, a prolific North Side development company, learned of the similarities from a DNAinfo Chicago report, published in early April, according to the complaint.

Ben Woodard breaks down the dispute:

FLATS began receiving "phone calls from confused individuals and consumers looking for information about 'its new project' on Devon, mistakenly and confusingly believing FLATS was the developer of the Devon property, rather than Three Corners," according to court documents.

The design logo is "nearly identical, used in the same or similar channels of trade and are likely to cause (and, in some cases, have caused) consumer confusion," the complaint stated.

It continued, saying Three Corner's decision to use the design logo is "willful and knowing and done with the intention of trading upon the valuable goodwill built up in the Flats' trademarks and brand, or otherwise injuring FLATS."

Three Corners president Christopher Woods said by phone Thursday he could not comment on whether his company will be changing the logo of the Edgewater development.

Both sides said they expect to settle the dispute within a week.

FLATS launched its housing brand in 2012, looking to flip run-down buildings, residential and commercial, into market-rate apartments for the young and hip.

Now the company, owned by Cedar Street Co., operates eight buildings in Edgewater and Uptown bearing the FLATS brand: 4875 N. Magnolia Ave., 1020 W. Lawrence Ave., 1325 Wilson Ave., 5718 N. Winthrop Ave., 5411 N. Winthrop Ave., 5051 N. Kenmore Ave., 4875 N. Magnolia Ave., and 6134 N. Kenmore Ave.

Three Corners began marketing its "luxury" Flats on Devon development in March.

All together, the development would boast 22 two- and three-bedroom units with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and in-unit laundry. Yearly leases would range from $2,000-2,600 a month.

Three Corners first became involved with Devon Avenue when it bought the former funeral home at 1300 W. Devon Ave. and built a state-of-the-art health clinic for Heartland Health Centers in its place. In the deal with the Weinstein Family funeral home, the developer also acquired its three parking lots, which are now slated for Flats on Devon.

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