Two companies located in Massachusetts have been in competition with each other over designing, building, and selling boat stands. Recently however, that dispute spilled over into the intellectual property arena.
Originally the Mattapoisett, MA, located Kavanaugh-Brownell Boat Stands, LLC (Kavanaugh) sued the Fairhaven, MA, located Brownell Trailers, LLC (BT) over use of the ‘BROWNELL’ trademark. In that first suit Judge Young presiding over the case determined that BT could continue to sell its boat stands under the ROK trademark so long as the mark made it clear to consumers that the products for sale were boat stands. BT then adopted the above ‘ROK’ trademark which was approved by Judge Young. In conjunction with adoption of the ROK mark, BT also registered and began use of www.rokboatstands.com.
However, Young’s ruling did not end the dispute between these two parties. Just recently, BT brought a lawsuit against Kavanaugh for typosquatting, cybersquatting and related trademark claims stemming from BT’s trademark ‘BOK’ for use in conjunction with its boat stands business. BT’s recent suit alleges that Kavanaugh registered www.rokkboatstands.com after BT began use of www.rokboatstands.com , that Kavanaugh’s conduct in using this domain constitutes typosquatting, cybersquatting, unfair competition and that Kavanaugh is infringing upon BT’s trademark rights.
Usually these types of disputes are handled under a Uniform Domain Resolution Policy (UDRP) arbitration proceeding. However, perhaps smartly recognizing that Judge Young has already presided over the history behind this dispute, BT has chose to file suit against Kavanaugh in the same court that handled the previous litigation between the parties.
As Kavanaugh’s use of www.rokkboatstands.com makes use of a domain name that is only 1 character (rokk in place of rok) different from BT’s domain name and because it incorporates BT’s mark it is highly unlikely that Kavanaugh will be able to retain this domain name in the upcoming litigation.
The most recent case is, Brownell Trailers, LLC v. Kavanaugh-Brownell Boat Stands, LLC, 10-11234-WGY (D. Mass. July 22, 2010).
More on this story can be found here;