It is now an undisputed fact that bikers love trademarks. I have twice written about the intersection between outlaw motorcycle clubs and trademark law. First, I wrote about how many of these clubs own and litigate federally registered trademarks. The following week, I wrote about how the feds are trying to use trademarks to stop outlaw motorcycle gangs. Now, there is yet another trademark dispute involving bikers.
This time the dispute revolves around the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The rally, now in its 76th year, brings three quarters of a million motorcycle enthusiasts to the small town of Sturgis, South Dakota. Population: 6,627. Salute! (sorry not sorry for the obscure Hee-Haw reference). Needless to say, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings in a lot of money.
So, there can be little wonder why Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. has sued Rushmore Photo and Gifts and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for their use of the Sturgis trademark. It seems the main issue in the case will be whether the Sturgis trademark is geographically descriptive, which is a no-no.
This would appear to be a pretty garden-variety trademark infringement lawsuit, apart from the fact that this is now the third time I’ve written about bikers and trademarks. I think I’m going to look into setting up a Trust Tree booth at next year’s Sturgis rally.