Cliff Banks - The Banks Report

TrueCar Settles — Wins — Legal Dispute with Sonic Automotive

July 29, 2015 — One lawsuit down, several more to go.

In what is some much needed good news for online car buying platform TrueCar,  it announces it has reached a settlement with Sonic Automotive in a trademark dispute dating back to August 2013.

The Banks Report first reported the dispute in September 2013 (TrueCar Files Trademark Lawsuit Against Sonic Automotive). Sonic had decided to call its one price initiative TruePrice. TrueCar immediately filed a lawsuit alleging the name infringed upon its “True” family of brands.

It wasn’t much of a settlement and instead was more of a win for TrueCar today. Sonic has agreed to transfer all of its rights to the use of names and trademarks involving the word “True,” including TruePrice and TrueView.

The settlement might open the door for Sonic to once again use TrueCar’s services. According to today’s joint statement from TrueCar and Sonic, Jeff Dyke, Sonic’s executive vice president of operations, says that the dealer group has lifted its policy of not doing business with TrueCar. Sonic stopped using TrueCar completely when its contracts with the Santa Monica-based company ended in 2014.

Not long after TrueCar filed the lawsuit in 2013, its founder Scott Painter offered to license the TruePrice and TrueView names to Sonic if it would agree to have its stores use the TrueCar platform — an offer that Sonic declined.

TrueCar, meanwhile, still has at least two dealer lawsuits and several lawsuits from investors to contend with. (TrueCar’s Lawsuits — Just Noise or Something More?)

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