HUIZENGA CAN USE AUTONATION NAME

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H. Wayne Huizenga's new used-car sales venture has reached an agreement with a tiny Oregon ad agency over use of the name AutoNation.

Mr. Huizenga's operation will be able to use the name AutoNation USA. Michael McCoy, president-creative director of AutoNation Marketing, Central Point, Ore., wouldn't discuss the terms of the agreement, and said he hasn't decided on a new name for his agency.

The eight-employee shop, which sells TV campaigns to new-car dealers in 150 markets in the U.S., Canada and Australia, said it had been using the AutoNation name since 1991 and that it held a valid trademark.

Mr. Huizenga, a founder of both Waste Management and Blockbuster Entertainment Corp., and his group plans to create a nationwide chain of high-volume used-car stores. Groundbreaking for the first store in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took place last month; it will open for business in the summer.

The dispute over the use of AutoNation began in November, when Mr. McCoy received a call from an attorney for the Florida group. The attorney said no problems were anticipated by the duplication of names.

Mr. McCoy disagreed, explaining that his company sells ad campaigns to new-car dealerships and that the used-car retailers would compete with his clients.

At first, the attorney hinted the Florida group might be willing to buy the trademark. At that point Mr. McCoy was offered $100,000 to redo his company's brochures and stationery.

A second offer was upped to $45,000 annually for three years, plus a one-week vacation in Florida during which Mr. McCoy would be required to spend a half-day in meetings with the used-car company.

Last month, Mr. McCoy put a $5 million price tag on the AutoNation name and threatened a lawsuit.

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