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AAA Auto Club Gets AAA.net Domain Name…and Porn Names

AAA gets hands on AAA.net. But it is overstepping its bounds.

American Automobile Association (AAA) has been awarded the domain name AAA.net after filing a lawsuit against its owners. AAA had lost a UDRP arbitration at National Arbitration Forum for the domain name, and then sued the owners of the domain in U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

The National Arbitration Forum got it right — but in this case the defendants’ behavior with other domains made it tough to defend in the court system. AAA noted several other domain names that the defendants had to cough up through UDRP, including Polaroid.net, RadissonSeattle.com, and Micorosft.com.

AAA.net is a generic term and appeared to be used that way in this case; but ultimately it seems that the defendants felt it worthwhile to hand over the domain rather than engage in a long lawsuit.

AAA has been on an arbitration domain name land grab lately, picking up domain names that probably have little value to it and have questionable similarity to AAA, such as adult names.

The company recently won disputes for aaaerotica.com, aaanudes.com, and aaablondes.com, which makes you question if the organization has filed a trademark in the field of use of adult entertainment. It also snagged aaabailbond.us. I suppose AAA may be planning a major expansion of services.

This month AAA also won aaa-major-creditcardsonline.com, a credit card site that has nothing to do with the Association. Sure, AAA offers a branded credit card, but that doesn’t entitle it to any domain name that includes AAA and credit cards, since AAA is a common term used by many businesses. You can also question the value of adding this domain name to its portfolio — was the web site really causing a problem for the association?

Copy of AAA Complaint (pdf)

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  1. Anunt

    I agree with AAA on this decision…why?
    Because AAA is not only a trademark but it is a STATUS…when your average traveler or a customer sees a AAA anywhere…they assume that a business is AAA approved…so it must be good and decent place.
    I think AAA won these cases because AAA is a status that an average person recognizes. We own several motels with AAA status…and these AAA inspectors check everything annually to make sure our motels are upto date to keep this AAA status. They do not want their AAA name to look bad on anything.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Anunt – if it’s related to travel, I understand. But keep in mind there are thousands of businesses that use the moniker AAA. Just open up the yellow pages (if you still have one) and you’ll see AAA Plumbing, AAA House Cleaning, etc.

  2. John Berryhill

    Andrew you have a good point. When phone books were more widely used, there was quite the competition for alphabetical order. Businesses could choose between buying Yellow Pages ads, or trying to get their listing first in their category by “A Aaardvark Widgets” and so forth.

    • Andrew Allemann

      I just did a search on YellowPages.com in Austin. Here are the top 5 results:

      1. American Automobile Association
      2. AAA Filter Service
      3. AAA Alterations
      4. AAA Lightning Computer Support
      5. Aaa Mill Inc

  3. David J Castello

    Nobody but their Mother was going to be in their corner after this was brought up:

    “AAA noted several other domain names that the defendants had to cough up through UDRP, including Polaroid.net, RadissonSeattle.com, and Micorosft.com.”

  4. Kevin

    I’m guessing AAA might think twice about trying to UDRP more names like aaanudes.com if they got enough press and had customers start asking why an organization like AAA was apparently in the internet pornography business.

    Maybe that would give pause to other companies thinking of filing bullshit UDRP’s – but I doubt it.

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