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Bedford Auto Dealers Assoc. v. Mercedes Benz of North Olmsted

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-08-2012
Case #: 97080
Boyle, Sweeney, Keough
Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/8/2012/2012-ohio-927.pdf

Trademarks: Even though Plaintiff may have registered term as a trademark, if the court finds that the term is generic then the term will not be worthy of the protection of a trademark.

Opinion (Boyle): Bedford Auto Dealers Assoc. (“BADA”) was around since the 1950′s and limited membership to the association geographically by only allowing those auto dealers located within about a one mile radius on a stretch of road located in Bedford, Ohio to be members. This stretch of road soon came to be known as “automile”. In 1987 BADA registered the trade name “automile”. In 2008 Mercedes Benz of North Olmsted (“MBNO”), located in North Olmsted, Ohio began using the term “automile” in its advertising. BADA demanded that MBNO stop using the trademark “automile” as soon as it learned of MBNO using it. MBNO refused and kept on using “automile”. BADA then proceeded to sue MBNO for trademark infringment of “automile”, alleging there would be consumer confusion over the trademark being used by MBNO. MBNO moved for summary judgement, claiming that “automile” was a generic term and was used by many other auto dealers around the country. The district court granted summary judgement to MBNO and BADA appealed. The Court found that the district court rightly held that the term “automile” was a generic term and therefore not worthy of trademark protection. AFFIRMED.