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General Motors v. Autovation

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Citation Edit

General Motors Corp. v. Autovation Technologies, Inc., 317 F.Supp.2d 756 (E.D. Mich. 2004) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Plaintiff manufactured automobiles under numerous marks including CORVETTE, SUBURBAN, and DENALI. Defendant sold parts, products and services for plaintiff's automobiles over the Internet and through catalogue and mail order. Defendant sold counterfeit parts bearing plaintiff's marks.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

Plaintiff sued for counterfeiting, infringement, and dilution, among other claims. Defendant stipulated to the entry of a permanent injunction. Based on the presumption of confusion arising from the use of identical marks on competing products, the court found the likelihood of confusion necessary to prove the plaintiff's counterfeiting, infringement, and false designation of origin claims.

The court also found a likelihood of confusion applying the traditional likelihood-of-confusion factors. Defendant's actions also constituted dilution by lessening the capacity of plaintiff's marks to identify only plaintiff's products. The court found that plaintiff's marks were famous and distinctive and defendant's use was commercial and began after plaintiff's marks became famous.

The court interpreted the Supreme Court's decision in Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, as permitting a trademark owner to provide actual dilution through circumstantial evidence. In this case, plaintiff established actual dilution based on defendant's use of marks identical to plaintiff's marks. In addition to [permanent injunction|permanently enjoining]] defendant from using plaintiff's marks, the court ordered defendant to provide a full accounting of its sales of products bearing plaintiff's marks and pay 75% of its gross revenue from these sales to plaintiff. Plaintiff was also permitted to audit and inspect defendant's records for up to six months to determine compliance with the court's order.

Source Edit

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