Spokane Journal of Business

Harley-Davidson sues Spokane motorcycle shop

Action accuses EVO-lution of unauthorized use of registered trademarks

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EVO-lution Inc., a Spokane motorcycle dealership, has been sued by Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and its parent for alleged use of Harley-Davidson registered trademarks without authorization.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court here in December, alleges that the Spokane motorcycle dealership named its business after Harley-Davidsons Evolution trademark, which also is the name of the motorcycle makers patented big twin engine that often is abbreviated as Evo. The dealership also is accused of unauthorized use of a picture of the Harley-Davidson engine in conjunction with the engines name on signs, ads, and merchandise.

The suit also claims that in one of the interior corners of EVO-lutions Spokane store the words Hardley-Davidson are painted. The suit asserts, The style of the letters and design are identical to Harley-Davidsons trademark, except for the misspelling of the word Harley.

In addition, the motorcycle maker asserts that the Spokane dealerships advertisements use of the phrase, The next step for the Harley enthusiast. Your Full Service Dealer, falsely implies that defendants are an authorized dealer of Harley-Davidson.

J.W. Everitt, manager of the Spokane dealership, says that the suit is just coming down to harassment. Its a case of the big guys coming down on the little guys.

Everitt says that the phrase painted on EVO-lutions store wall isnt identical to the Harley-Davidson trademark. The dealership purposefully wrote Hardley rather than Harley, and also placed the trademark into a computer and altered it by at least 10 percent, as required by law, he claims.

Additionally, Everitt says that the stores name isnt pronounced the same as the name of the Harley-Davidson engine, in the Spokane stores signs the name is separated into two lines, and the lution part of the name is in a completely different type font.

As for the dealerships logoThe next step for Harley enthusiastsEveritt says it simply is a description of what we do. We are the next step. He contends that the motorcycles that the store carries sell for twice as much as Harley-Davidson bikes and dont contain any Harley-Davidson parts.

Everitt asserts that the suit was filed because EVO-lution has begun taking away business from the Harley-Davidson dealership here. Besides, the owner here is Carol Chaffee, whos an attorney for the Nevada Supreme Court, and she assures me that were OK, he says.

Asked if the suit would prompt the dealership to make any changes, Everitt said, Absolutely not.

The Spokane dealership, which is located at 307 E. Sprague, is a franchise dealer for motorcycles made by California Motorcycle Co. (CMC), of Gilroy, Calif., whose motorcycles are intended to look like Harley-Davidson bikes.

The motorcycle shop here was founded about a year ago by Chaffee, who was a judicial law clerk here in the Division III office of the Washington state Court of Appeals at that time. Everitt is Chaffees longtime companion.

Harley-Davidsons parent, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based H-D Michigan Inc., is a co-plaintiff in the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction, damages, and a court order requiring defendants to deliver up to Harley-Davidson for destruction all signs, advertisements, literature, business forms, cards, labels, packages, wrappers, pamphlets, brochures, receptacles and any other written or printed material...which bear any marks owned by Harley-Davidson.

  • Lisa Harrell

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