Rehava to sell homes at Mixson neighborhood
2009/03/09, 8:10 pm
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The I’On Group decided this year to cease operations of I’On Group Realty to focus on its core mission, the company said. Rehava, the company selected to take over sales, opened last year with a business model different from that of most real estate firms. Since then, Rehava has been caught up in controversies over its advertising campaign and its logo.

Rehava, a local real estate firm that offers buyers half of its agents’ commissions, will take over sales from I’On Group Realty at the I’On Group’s Mixson development in North Charleston.

The I’On Group’s announcement comes about a week after the company said William Means Real Estate would take over sales at the I’On neighborhood in Mount Pleasant. The I’On Group decided this year to cease operations of I’On Group Realty to focus on its core mission, development and management of new urban neighborhoods, the company said.

Since opening last summer, North Charleston-based Rehava has sparked controversy among some local real estate agents because of a recent advertising campaign suggesting that buyers “break up” with their current real estate agents and switch to Rehava for the commission rebate.

Related story: Rehava ads spark ethics complaint.

Some agents said the ads violated the National Association of Realtors’ ethics code by interfering with agent-client relationships. Rehava owner Steve deGuzman has said he planned to take down the ads because of the controversy, though he maintains he did nothing wrong.


Rehava also is battling the international real estate firm Re/Max over its logo. According to documents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Re/Max has appealed Rehava’s trademark application because it says the logo is too similar to its own.

imageThe company’s trademark appeal explains its opposition, beginning with the prefix “re” in Rehava, pronounced the same as in Re/Max. The vertical stroke on the logo’s “h” and the mark over the “e” could be visually perceived as similar to the slash in the Re/Max logo, the filing says.

The appeal goes on to say that the body of the “h” in Rehava is visually similar to the “m” in Re/Max and the next letter, an “a,” is the same in both logos. Also, the “v” in Rehava is visually similar to the “x” in Re/Max.

DeGuzman said he is fighting the appeal and is frustrated by the money the battle will cost him in legal fees. He does not understand how the logos are similar, he said.

“We went to great pains to be as different as we possibly could from anything in our industry, and I am just blown away,” deGuzman said.

The name “Rehava” came after deGuzman searched for a simple name for his new real estate venture, which he initially called Real Estate Store USA, he said. He wanted to find some combination of “real estate,” “reinvented” and “rebate.”

DeGuzman combined those words with the consonant sound of a Latin word meaning “to live,” he said.

Rehava filed its logo trademark application in March of 2008, deGuzman said. Notice of the opposition came late last year, he said.

Kerron Stokes, Re/Max regional vice president for the Carolinas region, said the Denver-based company has a contractual obligation to protect its offices and the brokers who have invested in its brand. Re/Max regularly appeals logos similar to its own in an effort to prevent confusion among consumers, he said.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Web site shows several other appeals that Re/Max has filed against companies with related names.

“We are continually looking and evaluating in all markets in our industry where those brands or distinctions might need to be clarified,” Stokes said.

The I’On Group said Rehava’s unique approach to real estate is a good fit for sales at Mixson, which the company calls a sustainable urban community. Mixson is located in the historic Park Circle neighborhood of North Charleston.

“Rehava engages buyers who are drawn to Mixson’s high-quality, low-maintenance lifestyle and its green, urbane feel,” said Alys Campaigne, spokeswoman for the I’On Group.

Construction at Mixson began in late 2007. Neighborhood plans call for 950 homes and a mix of shops, civic buildings and parks. So far, 18 homes have been completed.

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Just after 5 days since the story about the logo debacle broke, RE/MAX is withdrawing its opposition to the federal trademark registration of 16,000 people voted in a poll in, 98% stating that REMAX and logos are not similar.

Comment by mystyleelife

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