Bechtel Corporation, the engineering and construction multinational based in San Francisco, has sued Bechtel S Corporation, a smaller Texas-based firm, which bills itself on its Web site as a “multidisciplinary engineering, environmental, and technology services company,” alleging trademark infringement.
The defendant has refused to stop using the name, Bechtel charges in its complaint filed April 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, even after Bechtel “repeatedly communicated” its concerns that Bechtel S Corp.’s name would easily be confused in the marketplace, especially within the same industry.
Counting among its accomplishments Hoover Dam and San Francisco’s BART transit system, Bechtel has been around awhile – since 1898 according to its Web site. The company has held a registered trademark for its name since “at least as early as 1925,” according to the complaint. Bechtel charges that the other company began using the name “much later.” (Bechtel S’s Web site says the company first opened in 2000.)
Bechtel says it has spent “several hundred million dollars” in marketing, advertising, and business development establishing the Bechtel marks. The complaint argues that Bechtel S Corp.’s use of its mark is diluting the company’s good name, one known for “consistent quality” and “considerable fame, good will and reputation.”
In addition to bringing allegations of trademark infringement and dilution by blurring, Bechtel seeks an injunction under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act for Bechtel S Corp.’s use of the domain name www.bechtel-s.com. Like Bechtel’s Web site, Bechtel S Corp.’s Web site boasts a number of projects it has completed for U.S. government agencies, including the Defense Department. Bechtel wants the alleged mimic company to take down its Web site or hand over its domain name. As of today, that Web site remains live.
Beyond suing for an injunction, legal fees, and damages, Bechtel wants the accused doppelganger to destroy anything it owns or controls labeled with the Bechtel marks.
Representing Bechtel is Washington, D.C. litigation partner Jonathan Link of Townsend and Townsend and Crew.
Bechtel S Corp. did not immediately return calls seeking comment.