Atlanta developer Dewberry Capital Corporation says it will abandon its applications for several marks using the terms “Uptowne” and “Midtowne” despite their pending publication for formal comments.
Dewberry Capital has long planned redevelopment of several properties in its home neighborhood of Midtown under a branding as “Uptown.” A Dewberry Capital official and an attorney who filed the “service mark” applications in October 2022 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would not clarify if the terms were related to the Uptown plan.
The service marks Dewberry Capital applied for included the terms “The Uptowne,” “The Uptowne House,” “The Midtowne” and “The Midtowne House.” The applications, made under the apparent affiliate Dewberry Trademarks LLC, said the company intended to use them in real estate services and development. A service mark is a kind of branding of a business service that can get significant legal protection by registering with USPTO.
USPTO recently listed three of the four applications – all except “The Midtown House” – as scheduled for “publication for opposition” on Sept. 26. According to Michael Powell, an intellectual property attorney not involved in the application, that means the start of a 30-day comment period where anyone else laying claim to the mark can object.
Samuel A. Mullman, the attorney who filed those applications and many others on behalf of Dewberry Capital, referred questions to Elizabeth Armstrong, vice president of brand development at The Dewberry, a hotel created by the company in Charleston, S.C. Armstrong said the USPTO is out of date, and the applications “have been abandoned and will not be under consideration by [the] applicant,” later adding that “at this time, we no longer intend to use the Uptowne marks.”
Armstrong did not respond to questions about whether the marks were intended for use in the Midtown redevelopments. Mullman and company founder John Dewberry also did not respond to questions.
Powell said the applications indeed showed only an intent to use the marks, not their actual use somewhere, and that it is common for applications to give up their plans while the USPTO process continues to churn. He said that USPTO would register the marks only after receiving evidence of their actual use in the “marketplace” and otherwise would eventually list them as “abandoned.”
Dewberry Capital recently stirred controversy in Midtown for its private construction of a new roundabout and exit on a state highway ramp in service to the Uptown plan.
Dewberry Capital has planned its various “Uptown” projects for many years. In 2019, a different developer, Rubenstein Partners, began a redevelopment of Buckhead’s Lindbergh neighborhood, about 2 miles to the north of Midtown, under the brand “Uptown Atlanta.” Rubenstein has declined to comment about any conflicts with Dewberry Capital’s Midtown branding and did not respond to questions about the “Uptowne” service mark applications.
Dewberry Capital was involved in a major trademark court battle that concluded last year when it lost a lawsuit with a separate, Virginia-based firm called Dewberry Engineering centered on the Atlanta developers’ attempt to rebrand as Dewberry Group. Dewberry Capital was ordered to pay nearly $43 million and restrict its use of the term “Dewberry” and other formulations, which included the removal of a sign from its Midtown headquarters, according to federal court documents. An appeals court last month rejected Dewberry Capital’s appeal of the decision.
Dewberry Capital or affiliates have applied for scores of service marks over the years for various logos and such phrases as “Southern Reimagined” and “Get Urban.” The uses have been largely real-estate focused but also range from wine and furniture to Christmas tree ornaments. Some of the applications are listed as abandoned or canceled in USPTO’s database.