Bentley Wins Trademark Victory Over Car Kit Makers

By Joseph Mandour on October 11, 2013

Trademark InfringementLos Angeles – By winning a Trademark Infringement lawsuit earlier this week, Bentley Motors effectively shut down producers of car kits designed to make other cars looks like its own luxury models.  U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington granted a preliminary injunction against defendants Fugazzi Cars Inc. and Keeping It Real Auto Customizing Inc., which both make “Bentley car kits.”  The popular car kits consist of add ons that one can affix to their own cars to make them look like Bentley vehicles.

According to its initial complaint, Bentley claimed that Fugazzi and Keeping It Real “unlawfully manufacture[d] Bentley body kits that transform ordinary and inexpensive Chrysler and Ford vehicles into knockoff Bentley vehicles … and intentionally misappropriated the overall appearance and shape of the Bentley GTC automobile as well as [various Bentley] trademarks … by incorporating them into ‘Bentley car kits.'” Earlier in the year, Bentley had filed a motion for summary judgment, asking that the judge render a decision immediately.  Though the judge ultimately waited to rule on the case, the current victory for Bentley is sweeping.

Defendant Robert Frary III, owner of Keeping It Real Auto Customizing Inc. did not help his case, as Judge Covington picked apart contradictions he made in his personal life and at his deposition.  Frary, who failed to file a response to the motion for summary judgment despite a court order, mentioned on his Facebook page that he was going to ” flood the streets” with Bentley knockoff kits while denying that he ever made such kits in his deposition.  Given such inconsistencies and her finding that he had ample time to defend himself of such remarks, Judge Covington found wholly for Bentley, granting both its request for injunction and motion for summary judgment.

In her final remarks about the ruling, the judge noted that Bentley successfully demonstrated actual consumer confusion by offering statements of consumers who noted the similarities between the car kits and actual Bentley vehicles.  In conclusion, she found that the “defendants made use of Bentley’s protected trademarks in commerce without Bentley’s consent and that such use was likely to cause confusion.”

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