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Trademark Infringement Action Concerning Auto Sales

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By FindLaw Staff on May 07, 2010 1:45 PM

Caliber Automotive Liquidators, Inc. v. Premier Chrysler, No. 08-16179, concerned a trademark infringement action involving service marks related to advertising promotions for car dealerships.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) plaintiff proffered competent summary judgment evidence of actual confusion of the car dealerships, the relevant purchasing population; and 2) the mark at issue had attained federal incontestible status, and thus the district court erred in holding that the mark was not entitled to strong protection.

As the court wrote:  "Caliber Automotive Liquidators, Inc. provides advertising promotions to car dealerships and owns service marks on "Slash-It! Sales Event" and "Slasher Sale." Premier Automotive Group uses its own marketing - an infomercial called the "Slasher Show" - to sell cars. Caliber sued Premier in the Northern District of Georgia under both federal and state law, claiming infringement. The district court granted Premier summary judgment, holding that no reasonable jury could find a likelihood of confusion between Caliber's marks and Premier's advertising. Caliber appealed. Persuaded that the district court erred in its measure of confusion of Caliber's customers by Premier's advertising and in the weight it gave an incontestible mark, we reverse and remand."

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