If the state’s new electronic-filing system for court documents were a person, it might be asking, “Who am I?” Partly because of a trademark-infringement suit, TexFile.com will become eFileTexas.gov on Dec. 6.
Tyler Technologies Inc., which operates the system, faces a federal lawsuit by a company called TexasFile that claims that TexFile’s name, logo and website infringe on its trademarks. Launched in 2006, TexasFile provides online access to many types of official records from 180 different Texas counties.
“Over the course of nine years, TexasFile invested thousands of hours and dollars promoting and marketing its services using the TexasFile marks,” TexasFile attorney Trey Cox, partner in Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox in Dallas, wrote in an email. “Recently, there has been a significant increase in actual confusion regarding TexFile’s association with TexasFile as a result of TexFile’s infringing conduct.”
But K&L Gates partner John Sullivan of Houston, who represents Tyler Technologies, said the company denies the allegations. It researched the name before launching TexFile and, “There was nothing to indicate it was a protected name,” he said.
“We’re not infringing. But, just to help avoid this controversy and to expedite the e-filing that’s required by the Supreme Court, we’re just going to roll it over to this new name,” said Sullivan.
According to Tyler Technologies’ answer to the suit, around Dec. 6, “the vehicle for accessing the free e-filing system will migrate from www.TexFile.com to www.eFileTexas.gov. Following that migration, the www.TexFile.com website will re-direct attorneys and other electronic court filers to the www.eFileTexas.gov website and will otherwise be shutdown.”
David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration, writes in part in an email, “We do not expect this small change to have a significant impact.”
Brian McGrath, Tyler Technologies’ senior manager of Texas E-Filing and Odyssey File & Serve, said nothing would affect the “business of e-filing” and that the system will continue operating “unabated.” Tyler Technologies is working “feverishly” on a marketing plan for the new name, said McGrath.
There’s not much time before people across Texas will be using the system on a widespread basis. On New Year’s Day, the Texas Supreme Court’s e-filing mandate—which says that lawyers must use e-filing exclusively in most civil cases—becomes effective in the most populous Texas counties.