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Ameritech, Inc. v. American Information Technologies Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
811 F.2d 960 (1987)


Facts

Ameritech, Inc. (Ameritech) (plaintiff) was involved in reclaiming industrial oils, selling lubricant containers, and consulting. Ameritech registered the trade name “Ameritech” in Ohio in 1979, and Ameritech had used an unregistered trademark configuration in its logo since 1979. Ameritech did not apply for federal registration of the name or mark. Most of Ameritech’s business was conducted in Ohio. American Information Technologies Corp. (AIT) (defendant), a company headquartered in Chicago, was involved in providing telephone services in the Midwest and selling telephone equipment. As part of its attempt to branch out of the telephone market, AIT sought a new trade name. AIT settled on “Ameritech” in 1983. This new name was announced in newspapers as part of a national advertising campaign, and Ameritech learned of it from a Cleveland newspaper. Ameritech filed suit six months later, arguing that AIT’s use of the “Ameritech” trade name and mark was a violation of Ameritech’s common-law rights and that the two marks would cause confusion among consumers. AIT filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that there was no likelihood of confusion. The district court granted AIT’s motion, and Ameritech appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Martin, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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