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Sixth Circuit Censures Cybersquatting

Thu, 8 Feb 2007 13:58:00 EST

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a district court's award of summary judgment, injunctive relief and attorneys' fees in favor of Audi AG, holding that Defendant Bob D'Amato infringed and diluted the world-famous AUDI, AUDI FOUR RING LOGO, and QUATTRO marks (the 'Audi Trademarks'), along with the distinctive trade dress of Audi's automobiles, and violated the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Audi AG and Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Bob D'Amato, Case No. 05-2359(6th Cir., Nov. 27, 2006) (Martin, J.)."

"In February 1999, D'Amato, an individual unaffiliated with Audi AG, registered the domain name www.audisport.com. In February 2002, an Audi dealership contracted with D'Amato to post links to a separate page, www.audisport.com/Boutique.htm, where merchandise (e.g., caps and shirts) bearing the Audi Trademarks, along with personalized '@audisport.com' e-mail addresses, were sold beginning in 2003. A graphic designer D'Amato hired to develop a pair of logos incorporating the AUDI FOUR RING LOGO commented that Audi offered similar goods online and questioned D'Amato about his connection to Audi and licensing rights to reproduce the Audi Trademarks.

The homepage of www.audisport.com described the webpage as 'a cooperative with Audi of America - providing the latest products for your Audi's [sic] and information on Audisport North America.' On the site, D'Amato offered to sell advertising space and posted news and press releases he received from one of Audi's public relations contactors, which he tagged as 'Text and Photos Courtesy of Audi AG.'"

Thanks to McDermott Will & Emery for this summary.

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