Harley Davidson sues clothing company over trademark

The California-based clothing company Affliction is being sued by Harley-Davidson over alleged trademark infringement according to reports. The lawsuit is said to have been filed in a federal court in the motorcycle manufacturer’s home state of Wisconsin. According to reports, Harley-Davidson chose to take legal action after being unsatisfied with Affliction’s response to a cease-and-desist letter sent to the company on Oct. 18.

The issue is said to have come to light when a motorcycle dealer received a shipment of clothing from Affliction that bore branding that was noticeably similar to Harley-Davidson’s familiar Bar and Shield logo. After being informed about the similarities between the two logos, reports indicate that attorneys representing Harley-Davidson sent a letter to Affliction alleging that 20 of the Seal Beach-based company’s products infringed intellectual property protected under U.S. law.

In response to the letter, Affliction is said to have offered to cease selling six of the items concerned. However, this response was not acceptable to Harley-Davidson and its attorneys who chose to eschew further negotiations in favor of initiating trademark litigation. Reports indicate that the motorcycle manufacturer is seeking $2 million in compensation for each of the products involved, the costs of running advertising to correct any consumer misunderstandings, compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

This case reveals how expensive intellectual property infringement can be, and attorneys with experience in this area may file lawsuits seeking significant damages when infringers are not negotiating in good faith or do not seem to be treating these matters seriously. However, these cases are often complex and pursuing them in court can be expensive, and attorneys may suggest striving for a negotiated solution once all of the parties involved accept the gravity of the issues at stake.

Source: Mortorcycle.com, “Harley-Davidson Suing Affliction for Allegedly Infringing on the Bar-and-Shield Trademark”, Dennis Chung, Dec. 28, 2017