Cybersquatting, Federal False Designation of Origin, Federal Trademark Dilution, Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, Indiana Trademark Dilution, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Indiana Unfair Competition, James Patrick Hanlon, Mark J. Dinsmore
The plaintiff in this trademark lawsuit is the American Automobile Association (AAA), i.e. that card in your wallet that you only pull out when you get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car. I’m actually surprised to read in the Complaint (below) that AAA has only 60 million members. I figured just about every driving American (231 million Americans held valid driving licenses in 2020) had a membership. For the low price of an annual membership, AAA is an absolute bargain when you’re stuck on the side of the highway far from home. Importantly for this lawsuit, AAA claims to also offer auto repair services.
The defendant is an Anderson, Indiana-based company with the patriotic name “All American Auto Hail Repair” using the internet domains AAA-HAILDENT-REPAIR.BUSINESS.SITE and AAAHAILDENTREPAIR.COM to advertise its services. The defendant is a small garage providing automobile dent removal services.
The defendant might challenge whether AAA really offers auto repairs under the AAA brands, or whether automobiles are just towed away by AAA trucks to have repairs performed by third-party repair companies. However, despite the surprisingly low number of members, AAA will still likely be considered a “famous” brand, which could grant it broader protection for ancillary goods/services like auto dent repairs.
It seems like a quick resolution, although perhaps legally unnecessary, would be for the defendant to just select a different domain name(s). AllAmericanAutoDentRepair.com is available right now, just sayin’. Some fights aren’t worth fighting.
Stay tuned for updates.
The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. All American Auto Hail Dent Repair LLC d/b/a AAA Hail Repair et al.
Case Number: 1:22-cv-00568-JPH-MJD
File Date: March 23, 2022
Plaintiff: The American Automobile Association, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: David O. Tittle, Elizabeth S. Traylor of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP
Defendant: All American Auto Hail Dent Repair LLC d/b/a AAA Hail Repair, Lavern Pflugh
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal False Designation of Origin, Federal Unfair Competition, Cybersquatting, Federal Trademark Dilution, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Indiana Trademark Dilution, Indiana Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James Patrick Hanlon
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore