NEW ORLEANS – The US. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently granted AutoZone's request to stop a company from falsely using its name on a website.
In a Dec. 12 filing, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier granted AutoZone's motion for default judgment and to permanently enjoin United Autozone from using the mark "or any other mark confusingly similar to" AutoZone's. Additionally, the court ruled that United Autozone transfer the domain name "unitedautozoneofgretna.com within 10 days of the entry of final judgment."
The complaint was filed by AutoZone, a national retailer and distributor of automobile parts, against United AutoZone, a used car dealership in Gretna, and owner, Adnan Awad claiming the dealership registered a domain name for the dealership, “unitedautozoneofgretna.com," that infringes on AutoZone's trademark.
AutoZone claimed United Autozone used its marks to advertise and sell goods and services without consent; used AutoZone marks after they became famous; the use of AutoZone marks is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace for used vehicles sales as to the source and authority for offering such services; "use of the marks dilutes the distinctive quality of the marks to identify and distinguish AutoZone goods and services; United Autozone's use of the AutoZone marks were intended to confuse and deceive the consuming public; and United Autozone used a domain name confusingly similar with the bad faith intent of profiting from consumer association with Plaintiff’s marks."
In October 2015, AutoZone became aware that the dealership had registered the domain name, court filings said. Several cease and desist letters were sent to Awad "demanding they stop using the AutoZone mark." Awad changed the corporate name of the dealership from United Autozone Inc. to Gretna Auto Depot Inc. in September 2016, according to the suit. "However, in June of 2017, Awad changed the corporate name back to United Autozone Inc.," the suit alleges.
AutoZone filed a complaint against Awad and United Autozone in November 2017 for "trademark infringement, unfair competition, unfair trade practices, trademark dilution, and cyberpiracy."
Attorneys for AutoZone argued for default judgment under Rule 55B of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
The suit contends that Awad failed to respond to the complaint or file an answer to the courts by the December 2017 deadline.
In April 2018, AutoZone moved for entry of default with the courts, and the motion was granted.