Los Angeles-based NorthStar Moving Company has won its trademark infringement lawsuit against King David Van Lines and its operators.
A federal judge awarded NorthStar Moving $13 million against Ohad Guzi personally after finding he willfully infringed NorthStar Moving’s trademark by deceiving consumers into believing they were hiring the company.
Florida-based King David Van Lines, led by Ohad Guzi, conducted business under the name Northstar Movers and the domain name northstarmovers.com. In a bench trial, the US District Court Southern District, Florida Fort Lauderdale Division, found that he did so to mislead customers and convince them they were hiring NorthStar Moving Company. The judge ruled Mr Guzi was liable for trademark infringement, unfair competition and violated the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protect Act. The judge added on $100,000, the maximum allowed, for the cybersquatting violation. In addition, Mr Guzi was ordered to pay NorthStar Moving’s attorney fees.
NorthStar Moving attorney Deborah A Gubernick of Snell & Wilmer LLP said, "NorthStar Moving is pleased that it will no longer have to worry about its customers being deceived, scammed and financially harmed by Mr Guzi. Justice was served and hopefully the message to Mr Guzi and other infringers is clear. You can't engage in blatant and willful infringement and think the court won't notice; an individual responsible for infringement can't use a corporate entity as its scapegoat to avoid liability."
NorthStar Moving’s Florida trial counsel Joseph W Bain of Shutts & Bowen LLP added, “This case is significant because the individual found to be the ‘conscious moving force’ behind the infringing activity of a company is liable for the company’s infringing profits.”
NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm said, “Wrongdoers sometimes disguise themselves as real and reputable companies to lure in the public. They use a company's good name and valuable reputation to attract customers but then subject their victims to horrific service and countless nightmares. We discovered the infringement when Mr Guzi’s victims contacted us with complaints, believing we were the moving company they hired. The horrible tales these victims told us made us heartsick. We couldn’t stand by while innocent people were being ripped off. We knew we needed to take action and to invest the time and the money to hold this infringer responsible and send a message to others. Make no mistake, our name has, and always will, stand for stellar service, community involvement and kindness.”
Photo: Laura McHolm