Sturgis Rally News – Trademark suit settled

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. (SMRI) and a Kentucky entity formerly billing itself as the “Little Sturgis Rally” have settled a lawsuit over the use of “Sturgis” in connection with a motorcycle rally for an undisclosed sum.

The Kentucky group has agreed to change both its corporate and trade name, eliminating the word mark Sturgis when used in connection with a motorcycle rally or any other derivations of marks that may be confusingly similar to those owned by SMRi under a recent word mark registration.

Earlier this year the organizers of the July rally in Kentucky announced it would be called Kentucky Bikerfest in the future.

The group agreed last week to accept a consent final judgment and a stipulated permanent judgment in favor of SMRI, “Our organization is charged with promoting and enhancing the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally while providing a charitable return for the greater Sturgis area, and part of that responsibility is to protect the intellectual property of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. from unauthorized use, infringement and counterfeit goods and services,” said SMRI chairman Dean Kinney.

The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce filed the unfair competition lawsuit in 2008. When it assigned its Sturgis marks to SMRI, the company became the plaintiff.

“Tourism is extremely vital to the economy of the Black Hills, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a crown jewel for the industry,” said board member and longtime Black Hills-area banker John E. Johnson. “Motorcycle tourism in the Black Hills and the Sturgis brand are both at risk if we allow unauthorized use of these valuable marks. This is not something of importance to just Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. but indeed to the hundreds of Black Hills tourism businesses and jobs that exist, in part, because of the worldwide notoriety of the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally.”

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. is the owner of the portfolio of trademarks and service marks related to the August rally in Sturgis, S.D.