Harley-Davidson Sues Online Retailer for Trade Mark Infringement

The lawsuit was filed on 30 August 2016 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Division. In addition to the alleged trade mark infringement, further actions have been pursued in relation to counterfeiting, trade mark dilution, cyber squatting, copyright infringement and unfair competition.

Harley Davidosn claims that GearLaunch, and its six associated business- namely Gear Harley, TeeKiwi, TeeFuny, TeeSeason, TeeShop4U Company aka. Biker’s corner and Teedig have infringed its copyright and trade marks by selling infringing apparel online without authorisation According to Harley Davidson the companies combined have sole 15,627 infringing articles of clothing. The company allege that the following items infringe Harley Davidson’s logo: Harley Davidson’s Bar & Shield Logo, Willie G. Skull Logo and Number 1 logo.

Harley Davidson sells its merchandise through its own website, dealerships and authorised retailers. The company has strict standards and guidelines in place in order to ensure that the quality and appearance of the merchandise with its logos is of the highest standard. In the event a company wishes to manufacture, promote or sell any licensed merchandise, prior written approval needs to be obtained from the company before doing so.

The Willie G.Skull Logo is also subject to a copyright infringement claim.

Harley Davidson claims that GearLaunch registered the domain name gearharley.com with a “bad-faith intent” to profit from its trade marks.

Between January and June of this year, five cease and desist demands were sent by Harley- Davidson to the companies. It is alleged that despite the demands the companies in question have continued to sell the infringing items.

It is alleged that by selling the apparel without Harley Davidson’s authorisation, the companies are creating confusion in the marketplace and further are potentially damaging the Harley Davidson brand, which is reportedly valued at $56.46 billion.

The suit states “The defendants actions…have damaged and irreparably injured and, if permitted to continue, will further damage and injure Harley, Harley’s trade marks, Harley’s reputation and goodwill associated with those marks, Harley’s reputation for high-quality products and services, and the public interest in consumers being free from confusion.”

Harley Davidson is seeking an injunction to stop the companies from using and/or registering the trade marks and further to stop the companies from registering any confusingly similar domain names. In addition the company is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. An order is also sought to des all infringing products, and to require the companies to transfer the confusingly similar domain names to Harley Davidson.

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