Farzad and Lias Tabris were auto brokers. They operated websites at buy-a-lexus.com and buyorleaselexus.com connecting buyers with dealers selling Lexus vehicles.
Toyota, which owns the Lexus brand, sued the Tabris’ for trademark infringement, but lost.
Toyota lost because the Trabris’ use was a “fair use” in the case of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. v. Tabari, 610 F. 3d 1171 (9th Cir. 2010)
When Trabris’ used the Lexus trademark they were referring to actual Lexus vehicles. If they didn’t use the term “Lexus,” how could they let customers know the type of vehicles that they broker?
Nominative Fair Use Defense
A defendant may succeed with a nominative fair use defense if: (1) the product is not readily identifiable without using the trademark, (2) the defendant used no more of the …