Kover Your Ears: Kars4Kids Charity Wins Legal Battle. The Jingle Lives On

Kars4Kids successfully appealed the District Court of New Jersey’s previous decision.

byNico DeMattia|
Kover Your Ears: Kars4Kids Charity Wins Legal Battle. The Jingle Lives On


The infernal jingle isn't dead yet. The New Jersey-based charity Kars4Kids, the one with the maddening TV and radio jingle, was previously ordered to pay $10.6 million (later reduced to $7.8 million) to Texas-based charity America Can! Cars of Kids for trademark infringement. However, Kars4Kids appealed last year and, earlier this week, the appellate court reversed the original penalty. So the Garden State charity is not only allowed to continue using its name in Texas but its jingle, too.

“The courts have essentially confirmed what the everyday consumer in any part of the country knows: Kars4Kids, with our iconic jingle, is the brand,” says Kars4Kids’ COO, Esti Landau. “While we respect the Cars for Kids in Texas for its charitable work, we are thrilled the Court recognized that we can continue to use all the goodwill and brand recognition we have built up in our name in Texas, just as we do in every other state.”

Both charities were founded in the 1990s but America Can! came first. When it got word of Kars4Kids' name, advertising, and jingle in 2003, it filed a cease-and-desist. Then it did nothing for ten years before sending another cease-and-desist in 2013. A year later, both charities filed trademark infringement lawsuits against each other. In 2019, the District Court of New Jersey sided with America Can! Cars for Kids. However, Kars4Kids appealed and New Jersey's Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there was too much time between the initial cease-and-desist in 2003 and the lawsuit in 2019, so Judge D. Michael Fisher reversed the penalty.

“Our focus has always been on the charitable work our donation program supports,” says Robert Moskovits, the organization’s president. “With the legal victory behind us, we can get back to what we do best—getting our charity programs the most we can out of every car donated.”

"We are disappointed by the verdict from the Third District Court of Appeals in our lawsuit against Kars 4 Kids," Colin Weatherwax, America Can! Cars for Kids CEO told The Drive. "Through multiple court proceedings we have sufficiently demonstrated America Can! Cars for Kids ownership of the trademark ‘Cars for Kids’ and that Kars 4 Kids has infringed upon this trademark. We are considering our options—including an appeal—at this time.”

Following the court's recent decision, though, Kars4Kids is allowed to operate throughout the country as it always has. That means its horrific jingle will continue to wreak havoc on our ears and minds for the foreseeable future.

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