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Flats on Devon Developer Removes 'Flats' From Name After Lawsuit

By  Benjamin Woodard and Mina Bloom | May 13, 2015 5:43am 

The "flats" in Flats on Devon was removed after a lawsuit.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — The developer of three apartment buildings slated for Devon Avenue has removed all references to its competitor's name after a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Three Corners Development President Chris Woods said his company and FLATS Chicago, which had sued Three Corners, reached an agreement to drop the suit as long as Three Corners changed the name of its "Flats on Devon" development.

Woods said he believed his company didn't violate copyright laws but felt the resources that would have been spent in court could be better spent elsewhere.

"We made a business decision," he said, adding that his company's attorneys wanted to move forward with the case. "It's just best to redirect those resources to our [development] efforts."

The "Flats on Devon" banners hung on fences around the perimeter of its development sites in the 1200-1300 block of Devon Avenue and 6539 N. Wayne Ave. were altered to remove the "flats" reference.

Alex Samoylovich, a partner at Cedar Street Co., which owns the FLATS brand, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. But attorneys for the company filed a motion Monday for a permanent injunction in federal court.

Woods said Three Corners would come up with a new name for its development soon.

For the Wayne building, Woods said he considered naming it "Wayne Manor."

"But I think DC Comics might have a problem with that," he said, tongue in cheek, referencing the fictional residence of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman.

FLATS filed the lawsuit in April, alleging Three Corners was using a "nearly identical" design logo to FLATS' own logo.

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

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."

Woods said his company did nothing intentional to interfere with FLATS.

"We certainly would not have done anything to impact what they’re doing," he said.

Woods said the apartment building in the 1200 block of Devon in Rogers Park should be completed by October, while the buildings in Edgewater should be completed in late summer.

All together, the developments 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.

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