Internet Trademark Case Summaries
U.S. Risk of Va., LLC v. Lighthouse Programs LLC
2008 WL 4387026 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 26, 2008)
Plaintiff U.S. Risk of Va., the successor to Lighthouse Underwriters, LLC, was an insurance brokerage with a federal registration for the mark LIGHTHOUSE UNDERWRITERS LLC and Lighthouse Design. Plaintiff used this registered mark as well as the common law mark LIGHTHOUSE in its business. Defendant Lighthouse Programs sold related insurance products and promoted itself as Lighthouse LLC or Lighthouse. U.S. Risk sued for infringement of both its registered mark and its common law mark LIGHTHOUSE per se and moved for summary judgment on its unregistered mark claim. The court granted plaintiff’s motion, finding that the majority of the likelihood-of-confusion factors favored plaintiff. On the strength-of-the-mark analysis, defendant argued that LIGHTHOUSE was an extremely weak mark because “there are millions of Google hits for the word lighthouse.” The court did not find this evidence persuasive, as it deemed the LIGHTHOUSE mark only suggestive of “safety or security” and thus inherently distinctive and entitled to protection.