Fight over shared business name put on hold til next month

By David Yates | Sep 13, 2010

Two companies both calling themselves Universal Marine Inspections have suspended their fight over naming rights until next month.

Plaintiff Emmanuel Schwartz, doing business as Universal Marine Inspections, filed suit against Michael Fertitta, also doing business as Universal Marine Inspections, in October 2008.

In his suit, Schwartz claims he is the lawful owner of the name, and Fertitta is interfering with his business and causing confusion in the marketplace by unlawfully advertising under the name Universal Marine Inspections.

However, according to Fertitta's motion for summary judgment, his company is the senior user of the name and Schwartz "admitted under oath that he chose the name because it was being used by the defendant."

A summary judgment hearing was slated to be held Sept. 13 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court. However, the hearing was canceled and reset for sometime in October.

Fertitta is seeking summary judgment on the basis that he is the senior user of the name and Schwartz, who established his business in 2002, filed his suit past the statute of limitations.

Conversely, Schwartz argues Fertitta is a former employee who stole client information in order to open his own business and compete against him, court papers say.

Schwartz also says in an affidavit that he was not aware of Fertitta calling his business Universal Marine Inspections until 2008.

Fertitta is represented by attorneys Gary Linthicom and Nancy Hart of the Beaumont law firm Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt.

Schwartz is represented by Beaumont attorney John Morgan.

Case No. D182-537

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