Flair Airlines, Ltd. v. Gregor LLC, No. 18 C 2023, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 25, 2019) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman denied plaintiff Flair Airlines’ (“Flair”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 motion for summary judgment because of “numerous disputed facts” in this cybersquatting and related state law claims case involving a dispute over a “poorly-documented and hastily-conceived” business venture to create an airline.
The Court held that even assuming that Flair could prove that its FLAIR marks were famous or distinctive and that defendants registered or used an identical or confusingly similar domain, the first two prongs of a cybersquatting analysis, Flair was not entitled to summary judgment because of factual disputes regarding whether defendants operated in bad faith to profit from the FLAIR marks.
Defendants registered the domains – including the FLAIR mark – at the outset of the parties’ joint business venture and with Flair’s knowledge. The Court also noted that the parties agreement initially tasked at least certain defendants with web development, business strategy development and other services related to the planned airline. Flair disputes defendants’ facts, but that because defendants’ facts are plausible, there is a question of material fact preventing summary judgment. The Court noted that Flair’s attempts to show a lack of disputed facts acted to emphasize the differences in the parties’ respective stories and to reinforce their factual disputes. The Court also declined to consider the relative credibility of witnesses at the summary judgment stage, leaving that for trial and the jury.