Ford Motor Co. v. Ford Fin. Solutions, Inc., 103 F.Supp.2d 1126, 55 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1217 (N.D. Iowa 2000) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff and its subsidiary Ford Motor Credit Company offer financial and investment services under various federally registered trademarks, including FORD and FORD FINANCIAL. Defendant, a financial and investment-planning business owned by a person with the surname Ford, promoted its services at its “fordfinancialsolutions.com” website. Plaintiff filed suit, alleging trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition.
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
The court approved a stipulated permanent injunction finding that defendant’s use of the FORD FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS mark and domain name infringed and diluted plaintiff’s FORD trademark, and permanently enjoined defendant from using the name FORD FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS or any “colorable imitation” of the FORD trademark in the “financial services industry.”
The court also ordered defendant to assign the domain name “fordfinancialsolutions.com” to plaintiff. The fact that defendant’s owner’s surname was Ford did not avoid liability. The addition of the words “Financial Solutions” were insufficient to prevent a likelihood of confusion because FORD was the most prominent part of both marks and the parties offered similar services. Finally, the court found that any disclaimer on defendant’s “fordfinancialsolutions.com” website would be insufficient to cure confusion.
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