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Family feud: Bosa Development takes Bosa Properties to court over its name

Lawsuit alleges use of Bosa name causing confusion in Canada and U.S.
Bosa Development is suing Bosa Properties over the use of its name in Canada and the U.S. | Rob Kruyt, BIV

A cross-border battle of the Bosas is underway in B.C. and Washington state courts over the respective branding of two well-known West Coast real estate developers.

Bosa Development Corp. has filed suit against Bosa Properties Inc. on both sides of the border following the latter’s entry into the U.S. market at least two years ago.

Nat Bosa founded Bosa Development in 1986, while brother and former business partner Robert Bosa founded what would become Bosa Properties in 1991. Robert’s son Colin Bosa now serves as CEO of Bosa Properties and Nat’s son Ryan Bosa has served as president of Bosa Development since 2017.

Both firms have pursued real estate developments in B.C. for decades using the same family name. 

But tensions arose in 2020 when, according to allegations made in a lawsuit filed Thursday by Bosa Development, the Nat Bosa-founded firm discovered the Robert Bosa-founded firm had launched operations in the Seattle area and was pursuing business under the banner of a Bosa Family Company.

Nat Bosa’s Bosa Development has been operating in the U.S. since the late 1980s and specifically in Washington state since the early 2010s.

“Almost immediately after launching its new U.S. venture, consumers began confusing defendant’s [Bosa Properties] real estate services with Bosa Development’s real estate services that are offered in the same geographic region,” U.S. court documents allege. 

“For example, one subcontractor even contacted Bosa Development asking about a specific job under the assumption that the two companies were one in the same. Bosa Development has never been affiliated with defendant.”

Bosa Development claims Bosa Properties initially agreed in 2020 to stop using certain Bosa branding in its marketing before later doubling down on its use.

“The value of the Bosa [Development] mark is being diminished and consumers are likely to be, and have already been, misled and confused,” the lawsuit claims.

Bosa Development owns a trademark in the U.S. that makes use of the letter B, while Bosa Properties affiliate company Bluesky Properties has also used a logo featuring the letter B.

“The [Bluesky] website also advertises itself as ‘a Bosa Family company’ causing further confusion,” according to the lawsuit filed in Washington state, which repeatedly describes the use of Bosa Properties’ branding as “counterfeit.”


Court documents filed in B.C. list close to a dozen defendants, including nine organizations featuring the name Bosa.

The B.C. lawsuit alleges that in 2017 Bosa Properties began launching services in Canada using the Bosa name – a violation of a prior agreement with Bosa Development.

Bosa Development claims this has caused confusion over the types of services the different companies offer, leading customers to think the two companies share common ownership and history, and that Bosa Development is a subsidiary of Bosa Family Companies, the latter of which is operated by Bosa Properties.

Bosa Development is seeking a trial in Vancouver in an effort to stop Bosa Properties from using any trademarks or names that is claims could cause confusion.

The U.S. civil case seeks to stop Bosa Properties from using the branding in question, recover damages and recoup the cost of legal fees. Bosa Development is also asking the courts to either cancel the registrations for two websites affiliated with Bosa Properties websites or else assign those domains to Bosa Development.

“We regret that it has come to this between families. We see this as the only avenue to protect the integrity of our business and brand reputation that our patriarch Nat earned over decades of hard work, honesty and community giving,” Bosa Development said in a statement.

“We wish Bosa Properties all the success they have earned and deserve but we must preserve and defend our brand and identity.”

A representative speaking on behalf of Bosa Properties declined an interview request from BIV.

Instead, Jen Riley, Bosa Properties vice-president of brand, said in a statement the company is proud of its legacy.

“Both companies forged separate paths for the last 35 years and we have reached a time in our evolution that we are taking an opportunity to ensure we can continue to flourish for the next 50 years,” she said.

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