Lawsuits Filed Over Phone Book-Era 'AAA' Businesses

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Jan. 17, 2020—Most readers will remember the age of the phone book, which was a printed directory of regional phone numbers and addresses for businesses and people.

That information lives on the internet now, which saves a lot of book space in shops. But the phone book's legacy lives on, occasionally with businesses whose names begin with a series of As. The more As, the better chance the business would be at the front of the alphabetically sorted phone book.

Many of those names still remain, and that might come at some legal peril. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported on a crop of lawsuits popping up against businesses that are named with a trio of As. The example in the Sentinel story is AAA Wholesale Transmissions.

The entity bringing the lawsuits? The American Automobile Association—colloquially known as AAA.

The Sentinel reported that as AAA has branched out into lots of different services bearing its name, the organization has filed more than 400 infringement lawsuits to claim that those businesses with all the As are trying to confuse customers into thinking that AAA has endorsed them.

Not so, at least according to AAA Wholesale Transmissions. The owner told the Sentinel that he just wanted to be at the front of the phone book 20 years ago. Hence, the name.

Having a bunch of As in your name won't help with internet-based phone directories. To get a leg-up in that world, check out a September NOLN story (a sister publication of Ratchet+Wrench), "Make Sure Your Business is Visible to Drive-By Searchers."

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