6
Feb/03

6th Circuit Case re: PETERBILT and KENTWORTH


Paccar v. Telescan, No. 00-2183 (6th Cir. Feb. 5, 2003) (Injunction against defendant’s use of PETERBILT and KENTWORTH trademarks affirmed in part, vacated in part).

This is a very pro-plaintiff infringement case involving the domain names peterbilttrucks.com, and kentworthtrucks.com and two other variants, registered to a company which provides communication services to truckers.  There was apparently no cyber-squatting cause brought. 

Of interest from the decision:

The district court did not adopt a per se rule that every domain name identifies the owner or affiliation of the site. Instead, the district court joined many other courts in stating the obvious: words in many domain names can and do communicate information as to the source or sponsor of the web site (citations omitted).

and:

In Brookfield, the Ninth Circuit explained why simultaneous use of the Internet as a marketing tool exacerbates the likelihood of confusion:

In the Internet context, in particular, entering a web site takes little effort–usually one click from a linked site or a search engine’s list; thus, Web surfers are more likely to be confused as to the ownership of a web site than traditional patrons of a brick-and-mortar store would be of a store’s ownership.

Brookfield, 174 F.3d at 1057. Even in the absence of proof regarding Internet marketing’s effect on consumer confusion, the district court’s finding that using the Internet as a marketing channel increases the likelihood of confusion is not clearly erroneous.”

There is also a lengthy discussion as to rejection of a nominative fair use defense (for more on nominative fair use, see the Beach Boys case here.)

 

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