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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Icarumba, Inc. v. Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair

57 U.S.P.Q.2d 1151 (W.D. Wash. 2000)

Plaintiff provided online automotive-information services relating to car repair and care under the domain name ICARUMBA.COM and the mark iCARumba.  Defendant, a nonprofit entity devoted to improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of auto collision repair services, offered a searchable database of repair technicians who had received training from defendant under the domain name I-CAR.COM and the mark ICAR.  Plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that its ICARUMBA marks and domain name did not infringe defendant's I-CAR marks and names.  Defendant then sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin plaintiff's use of its ICARUMBA marks and domain names.  The court denied defendant’s motion.  It noted that, in the context of the Internet, the three most important factors in determining whether a likelihood of confusion exists are (i) the similarity of the marks, (ii) the relatedness of the goods or services, and (iii) the simultaneous use of the Internet as a marketing channel.  Even though plaintiff and defendant both used the Internet as a marketing channel and offered related services, the court found no likelihood of confusion because plaintiff’s and defendant’s marks were not similar enough.  Although the marks at issue all contained the letters “ICAR” as a dominant portion of the marks, they were sufficiently distinct in overall appearance, sound, and meaning to avoid a likelihood of confusion.