Roers settlement allows both businesses to use family name – InForum


FARGO —

A family dispute

over who has the rights to the Roers name has been settled.

Roers Management of Fargo and Roers Cos. in Minnetonka, Minnesota, have agreed to continue doing business under their respective names, their attorneys told The Forum Thursday, Feb. 3. North Dakota U.S. District Judge Peter Welte dismissed the lawsuit Jan. 28 per the businesses’ request after they settled out of court.

Roers Management, which was founded in 1976 by North Dakota Sen. Jim Roers, R-Fargo, filed the lawsuit in late 2020 against his nephews’ business, Roers Cos., claiming Roers Management had exclusive rights to the Roers trademark. That would include the title Roers Cos., the Fargo construction, development and property management firm argued.

Nephews Kent and Brian Roers founded their real estate company in 2012, though they previously used Roers Group as early as 2004, according to court documents. In a

counterclaim

, Roers Cos. said it started using its name first and that Roers Management wrongfully used the Roers Cos. title.

The nephews also alleged a Roers Management attorney, identified in documents as North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo, made false statements in attempting to trademark the family name in 2019 on behalf of the Fargo firm. Roers Jones, who is Jim Roers daughter and is running for Fargo mayor, denied those allegations, Roers Management attorney Ashley Bennett Ewald previously told The Forum.

Surnames typically cannot be trademarked unless it takes on a secondary meaning that is well-known to consumers. For example, Disney is such an example, being widely known for its animated movies.

No damages were paid to either party, said Loren Hansen, an attorney for Roers Management. The parties also will work “in good faith to avoid and correct” confusions, he said.

“One of Roers’ core values is community,” Hansen said in an email to The Forum. “Going forward, Roers will continue to grow in North Dakota and throughout the USA and continue its tradition of giving back to the community and building success.”

Kent Roers said his company was shocked and disappointed by the lawsuit. The merits of the case were unfounded, and the outcome of the lawsuit reaffirms that, he said in a statement to The Forum.

He said he wanted to have a private conversation to resolve the problem.

“Instead, we were forced to defend an expensive and fruitless lawsuit that strained our familial relationships and ultimately led to their Fargo-based business forfeiting any perceived claim to our Roers Cos. name,” Kent Roers said. “Our Minnetonka-based firm will continue to operate as Roers Cos. and will continue to grow our real estate footprint nationwide.”





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