Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Nav-Aids Ltd. v. Nav-Aids USA, Inc.
2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17619 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 25, 2001)
Plaintiff manufactured and sold ground-support equipment to aircraft-manufacturing firms, airlines, and the United States military. Defendant was a distributor of ground-support equipment it obtained from various manufacturers and wholesalers, which it in turn sold to aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and the U.S. military. Defendant was a distributor of plaintiff's products for many years until terminated by plaintiff. Defendant registered and used the domain names "nav-aidsltd.com" and "navaidsltd.com" in connection with its business. Plaintiff moved to preliminarily enjoin defendant under the ACPA from using these domain names. The court granted plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, finding plaintiff's mark to be distinctive and the "nav-aidsltd.com" and "navaidsltd.com" names to be confusingly similar to plaintiff's NAV-AIDS LTD. mark. And the court held that plaintiff had a better than negligible chance that it would succeed on showing that defendant had the requisite bad faith. The court balanced defendant's lack of intellectual-property rights in the NAV-AIDS LTD. mark and its apparent intent to divert consumers by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source or affiliation of its websites on one hand with defendant's prior use of the domain names for a bona fide offering of goods and services. However, that the domain names did not consist of defendant's legal name tilted the balance in plaintiff's favor. The court could find no legitimate reason why defendant would include "ltd" in its domain names because "ltd" was not part of defendant's corporate name, except to attempt to deceive potential customers into believing that the website was associated with plaintiff whose name did contain "ltd."