Car dealership owner Billy Fuccillo is in a “huge” trademark dispute with a competitor.
Fuccillo, known for his advertisements across the Tampa Bay area, is suing Trent Silver in federal court, alleging that he engaged in “cyberpiracy” when Silver registered the domain “billyfuccillo.com” on Go.Daddy.com and used it to redirect customers to the Century Kia website.
Silver’s use of the domain name was “willful, deliberate and in bad faith,” according to the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa division. Fuccillo, who owns Fuccillo Automotive Group, operates Fuccillo Kia in Wesley Chapel while his rival, Century Kia, is only 10 miles away, the lawsuit said.
In his lawsuit, Fuccillo said the battle has been going on since March 27, when he submitted a complaint to arbitration.
According to the lawsuit, shortly after Fuccillo filed that arbitration claim, Silver “contacted Fuccillo Kia in Wesley Chapel offering to sell the billyfuccillo.com domain name to [Fuccillo] further evidencing his bad faith in having registered it.”
A three-member arbitration panel decided in Fuccillo’s favor on May 13, ordering Silver to transfer the domain name to Fuccillo. The panel, in its decision, noted that Silver bought the domain name on Aug. 29, 2006.
Silver, in a telephone interview, said he did transfer the domain name back to Fuccillo and doesn’t understand why he is being sued. The billyfuccillo.com site currently leads to Fuccillo Automotive Group.
Silver said he regrets what happened. He said that he bought the name in the middle of the night. “I bid on it and I won it and then next thing I know I have this domain dispute.” He added that Century Kia had nothing to do with the matter, adding: “I really wasn’t trying to do anything malicious.”
In his lawsuit, Fuccillo has asked the court to permanently block Silver from using the domain name and other similar words or images. He is also asking the court to block Silver from selling or offering the domain name for sale. Fuccillo also asked that the court order Silver’s registration of the domain name be forfeited and all rights to it be transferred to the car magnate as well as unspecified monetary damages. He is also demanding that Silver delete the domain name from any computer files and hand over any revenues and profits he may have gotten by using the domain name.
Lawyers for Fuccillo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit, which includes claims for cyberpiracy and unfair competition under federal trademark law as well as violations of Florida’s deceptive and unfair trade practices law and the state’s right of publicity law. The lawsuit called the use of Fuccillo’s name “wanton, intentional and reckless and with complete disregard to plaintiff Billy Fuccillo‘s rights in and to his name and persona.”
Known for the catchphrase in his commercials that say, “It’s gonna be huge,” Fuccillo states in his lawsuit that he spends up to $30 million annually on advertising, “virtually all of which prominently features the Fuccillo mark and most of which further associates the auto dealership with Billy Fuccillo.” He uses the domain name “fuccillo.com.”
Fuccillo, who owns one of the largest auto dealerships in the country, operates 26 retail locations in New York and Florida with annual revenues of nearly $1 billion, according to court papers.