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America Can! Cars For Kids Wins Verdict in Trademark Dispute Over Rights to ‘Cars for Kids’

May 30, 2019 – Press Releases
PR Newswire

In a court case between two nonprofits over the rights to use the trademark "Cars for Kids," a federal jury handed up a verdict that said America Can! Cars For Kids proved it has an exclusive trademark right that was willfully violated by its New Jersey-based opponent, Kars 4 Kids, Inc.

In its 11-page verdict form, the jury rejected all of the claims brought by Kars 4 Kids, Inc. of Lakewood, NJ, in its suit alleging it was entitled to nationwide rights to Kars 4 Kids and a companion mark, 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS, concluding not only that America Can! Cars For Kids has the legal rights to use its Cars For Kids phrase but that it was actually Kars 4 Kids, Inc. that committed trademark infringement.  Car donations in the U.S. exceed $500 million annually.

"This verdict means that America Can! Cars For Kids can continue, unimpeded, to collect car donations throughout the United States and foreign countries," said Richard Marquez, Chief Executive Officer of America Can! Cars For Kids. "Since the Can Academies began in 1985, we have helped more than 150,000 deserving kids.  It also allows us to get back to what we do best, educating kids, while still protecting our hard-earned trademarks. Our Cars for Kids and Write Off The Car, Not The Kids marks are our most recognized brands."

The jury specifically found that Kars 4 Kids had committed trademark infringement when it used its Kars 4 Kids and 1-877-Kars-4-Kids marks in Texas. The damages phase will be heard by the Court in August 2019.  Kars 4 Kids Inc. sued America Can! Cars For Kids in 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and America Can! Cars For Kids filed a separate lawsuit alleging trademark infringement by Kars 4 Kids Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The lawsuits were combined.

According to Aubrey "Nick" Pittman, America Can! Cars For Kids' lead trial counsel, the jury heard powerful and emotional testimony from Marquez and Malcolm Wentworth, Chief Operations Officer, of the sweat and toil American Can! Cars for Kids put into developing and building its Cars For Kids brand since the late 80s and the thousands of children who have been given a second chance at earning their high school diploma through the Can Academies.  "The jury heard many accolades that America Can! Cars for Kids have received from former U.S. Presidents, Governors, Mayors, celebrities, donors, and the kids who have benefitted from the Cars for Kids brand about what the brand stands for," said Pittman, who was joined at trial by co-counsel Christopher Kinkade, of Fox Rothschild, and Valerie Yanaros Wilde of the Yanaros Law Firm. Also assisting were J. Manuel Torres-Rodriguez, attorney/CPA, Karen Confoy and Allison Hollows of Fox Rothschild, and Sharie McEwing of the Deleon Law Group.

America Can! Cars For Kids is a 501©(3) non-profit vehicle donation organization benefiting Texans Can Academies, a unique network of 14 charter schools across Texas in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio that serve students who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. It is the only owned and operated car donation program where 100% of the net proceeds directly support the charity. The money raised by America Can! Cars For Kids goes to helping change the lives of at-risk youth by providing them with a high school education as well as basic necessities, such as food, housing, clothing, child care, and more as they work toward their high school diploma in order to ensure their economic independence.

About America Can! Cars for Kids

America Can! Cars for Kids is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that, since before 1992, has helped change the lives of at-risk youth by providing them the highest quality high school education in an environment where they can flourish and graduate. Its car donation program spans all 50 states and offers free towing on all cars and accept trucks, vans, motorcycles, RVs, campers, jet skis, forklifts, trailers.  Donations support the Can! Academies and helps educate and provide items such as food, housing, clothing, childcare, and other necessities for at risk youth as they work toward their high school diploma.

About Texans Can Academies

Celebrating 34 years of providing the highest quality education for all students, Texans Can Academies are graduating thinkers.  Texans Can Academies are a unique network of 14 charter schools located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.  The schools are tuition-free, open enrollment, public high schools of choice serving students who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. Texans Can Academies offers students, aged 14 to 21, a second chance at earning their high school diploma instead of a General Education Development (GED). To date, more than 151,883 youth have been given a second chance at life with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Cars for Kids is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization benefiting Texans Can Academies and is the only car donation program in Texas that is operated by the charity it serves.  For more information, visit: www.texanscan.org or www.carsforkids.org.