Audi V D'Amato Case
Business and Management
Submitted By yamisantana
Audi AG and Volkswagen of America Inc. v. D’Amato Case Yamileth Hoffman
Palm Beach State College
Business owner Bob D’Amato, who was unaffiliated with Audi, the automobile maker, in any official manner, used the domain name www.audiosport.com to sell Audi items such as t-shirts, hats, and other accessories. The site was linked to a dealership in Florida; an establishment whom D’Amato said gave him permission to use the Audi trademarks (Roger E. Meiners, 2012 p. 243-244).
Audi Ag and Volkswagen of America Inc. v. D’Amato D’Amato stated that he did not have any affiliation with Audi. This statement did not protect him for engaging in infringement, dilution, and cybersquatting since he deliberately designed his website by displaying the Audi Trademarks and affirmatively misrepresented its affiliation with Audi, to lead consumers to believe that his website was affiliated with Audi "Who are we? We are a cooperative with Audi of America, and will be providing the latest products for your Audi's and information on Audi sport North America"(Plaintiffs' Motion, Exhs. 17-21). D’Amato has testified that he never received written permission from anyone to display the Audi Trademarks (D'Amato Dep. at 56-57, 85, 91-93). Defendant also implemented an email subscription service offering "audisport.com" email addresses ( Id. at 114-118). Defendant also offered to sell advertising space on the website. This could harm Audi because the company could be suit for damages to third persons. The website states, “Thank you for your interest in advertising with AudiSport.com. We are a rapidly growing Audi enthusiast web site with monthly hit rates in excess of 300,000. While we are not an official part of Audi of America, we have a signed agreement allowing usage of Audi-owned trade names. Advertisers at Audisport.com have the opportunity to reach a highly focused online community and typically experience click-through rates between 1.5-3.5%. Also, the website was earning profits from using the Audi trademark without permission and selling goods that were not genuine, which will harm the Audi’s reputation. Trademark Infringement claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1114 which provides: “Under subsection (b) hereof, the registrant shall not be entitled to recover profits or damages unless the acts have been committed with knowledge that such imitation is intended to be used to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive”. The law focuses on distinctive marks and famous since they are most vulnerable to confusion. "The strength of a mark is a factual determination of the mark's distinctiveness. The more distinct a mark, the more likely is the confusion resulting from its infringement, and therefore the more protection it is due."Frisch's Restaurants Inc. v. Shoney's Inc., 759 F.2d 1261, 1264 (6th Cir. 1985). Audi spent millions of dollars in advertising, promoting and developing the Audi Trademarks throughout the world. And, it is not fair use for someone else to use the domain for commercial purposes without intellectual permission.
AUDI AG v. D'AMATO | Leagle.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.leagle.com/decision/20051025381FSupp2d644_1961/A
Meiners, R. E., & Ringleb, A. H. (2012). The legal environment of business. Mason, OH: Cengage.
Audi AG and Volkswagen of America Inc. v. Bob D'Amato ...(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.internetlibrary.com/cases/lib_case449.cfm