Stittsville, Ontario, Canada — Kingdom Auto Parts said this week it has reached a settlement in the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Detroit, Mich., regarding the Sept. 9, 2008 trade letter issued by Steve Handschuh, president and COO of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, a market segment of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).
In the suit, Kingdom Auto Parts challenged MEMA’s claim that cross-referencing of manufacturers’ names, brands and part numbers is an improper practice in the aftermarket for automotive replacement parts. In the lawsuit, Kingdom Auto Parts asked the court to declare cross-referencing a “fair use” of trademarks of other companies and challenged the statements contained in the Sept. 9, 2008 trade letter.
Kingdom Auto Parts said it always identifies its products principally by the brand designators and part numbers assigned by Kingdom Auto Parts. However, the company said it also cross-references the Kingdom Auto Parts product, by brand and/or part number, to an OEM or competitive aftermarket designator, “to fairly inform of its intended application.” Prior to the court’s decision, two auto parts makers took legal action against Kingdom Auto Parts, related to this practice.
As part of the settlement with MEMA, the association recently published an updated trade letter to its members, which stated, in part:
“In publishing the September 2008 trade letter, neither AASA nor its outside counsel intended to encourage AASA members to file lawsuits against Kingdom. Rather, AASA and its outside counsel intended to inform AASA members about the filing of and the allegations contained in the lawsuits described above.”
“With respect to the two lawsuits mentioned in the September 2008 trade letter, one lawsuit filed against Kingdom has been resolved by a settlement and in the second lawsuit, the Judge has twice ruled in Kingdom’s favor and denied a preliminary injunction. In the second law suit, the MEMA member is pursuing an appeal.”
“To date, no new lawsuits have been filed against Kingdom and neither AASA nor AASA’s outside counsel is aware of other lawsuits planned by MEMA members against Kingdom.”
The updated trade letter was published on Feb. 9 on the AASA website, and can be viewed by clicking here.
Commenting on the settlement, AASA stated, "Kingdom’s lawsuit, brought in September 2008, has been resolved by the parties through AASA’s publication of a trade letter update. No other consideration was required, and none of the parties admitted any wrongdoing. The lawsuit has been dismissed, and we are pleased that this matter is now behind us."