AutoZone, Inc. v. Strick, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2006 WL 3626770 (N.D. Ill.  Dec. 7, 2006) (Hart, J.).

Judge Hart granted summary judgment for defendants and dismissed all of plaintiffs’ claims in this trademark case.  First, the Court did a detailed analysis of each of the seven likelihood of confusion factors and determined that a reasonable jury could not find a likelihood of confusion between plaintiffs’ AutoZone mark and defendants’ Oil Zone and Wash Zone marks.  The Court found that plaintiffs’ mark was strong, but held that there was not great similarity between the marks, that plaintiffs’ and defendants’ services were not similar, and that there was no evidence of actual confusion or intentional infringement.  As a result, the Court dismissed plaintiffs’ trademark infringement and unfair competition claims.

The Court also dismissed plaintiffs’ dilution claim.  Defendants argued that plaintiffs could not prove dilution.  Because plaintiffs bear the burden of proof on dilution, plaintiffs were required to rebut defendants’ claim.  Instead of providing evidence of actual or likelihood of dilution, plaintiffs stated they "planned" to present circumstantial evidence of dilution, apparently at trial.  But because plaintiffs did not present any such evidence in their responsive papers, the Court dismissed the dilution claim.

Practice tip:  When responding to a summary judgment motion, make sure to respond to each of your opponent’s arguments citing to facts that support you.  Without citing facts, it is difficult to raise an issue of fact.