Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Ark. Best Corp. v. Carolina Freight Corp.
60 F. Supp. 2d 513 (W.D.N.C 1999)
Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation (“Carriers”) used the names CAROLINA and CAROLINA FREIGHT for its trucking services since 1937. In 1982, Carriers formed Carolina Freight Corporation (“CFC”). In 1995, CFC changed its name to WorldWay Corporation but continued to use the CAROLINA mark. Also in 1995, Carriers was merged into ABF Freight System, Inc. In June 1997, WorldWay merged with, and transferred its trademarks to, Arkansas Best. After the merger, Arkansas Best continued to use the CAROLINA and CAROLINA FREIGHT marks. In September 1997, a former employee of Carriers formed a new Carolina Freight Corporation, began using the marks CAROLINA and CAROLINA FREIGHT, and registered the domain name “carolinafreight.com,” all apparently on the belief that plaintiffs abandoned rights to the CAROLINA marks as a result of the name change and merger. Arkansas Best and ABF sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants’ use of the various CAROLINA marks. The court rejected defendants’ abandonment defense, finding that plaintiffs continued to own and use the CAROLINA marks. The court thus preliminarily enjoined defendants from using the CAROLINA and CAROLINA FREIGHT marks, and ordered them to cancel the “carolinafreight.com” domain-name registration.