You asked me over and over what was the status of the litigation opposing merchants to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc (SMRI) owner of the 2 trademarks Sturgis Rally and Black Rally and a couple of other variations. First, regarding the lawsuit in Federal Court between Rushmore Photo and SMRI, both parties are waiting for a judge in Rapid City to set a date for the trial. Second, on Friday October 21, 2011 the association called Concerned Citizens For Sturgis (CCFS) and regrouping Sturgis area citizens, local merchants and rally vendors and created to oppose and ask for cancellation of these trademarks filed legal action against SMRI in the United States Patent And Trademark Office. At the end of this article, I post a link to the full petition by CCFS. It’s long, but worth reading. I summarize below the main grounds to support this petition by CCFS.
1- Sturgis is the name and designator of a geographic place, namely the town of Sturgis. Black Hills is the name and designator of a geographic place, namely a group of mountains in western Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held since 1938.
2- For many years the terms “Sturgis” & Black Hills” are and have been used for goods and services by non-licensed third parties. SMRI was created only in March 2010.
3- The Sturgis Area Chamber Of Commerce filed trademark application on January 30, 2001, stating falsely that to the best of its knowledge no person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use the Sturgis mark in commerce while in fact numerous entities and businesses used the term Sturgis to market their good and services. In addition, the Sturgis Chamber filed a claim that the Sturgis mark was entitled to Black Hills Motor Classic Sturgis Rally & Races Black Hills SD. Application was opposed by Jom Doyle from Black Hills harley-davidson (Dba Sturgis Harley-Davidson) and Jerry Berkowitz from Good Sports Sturgis because Sturgis primarily and merely is a geographical description and that they were using the name since 1981.
4- The PTO (Patent & Trademark Office) denied the Sturgis Chamber application on the grounds, among others, that Sturgis primarily and merely a geographical description. Then, on June 30, 2010 the Sturgis Chamber assigned its trademark application to a group including Jerry Berkowitz (Good Sports, Jim Burgess (Sturgis Harley), John Johnson (First Interstate Bank) and Dean Kinneyof Home Slice. On July 2, 2010, Good Sports and Sturgis Motorcycles withdrew their opposition to the original Sturgis trademark application without . The group called SMRI got trademark registrations without Good Sports and Sturgis Harley informing the Patent Office of their original statements for opposition.
5- The Concerned Association Of Sturgis Citizens (CCFS) claims Fraudulent Procurement Of Registrations (Sturgis & Black Hills) and ask cancelation of these 2 trademarks given to SMRI.