Appeals Board Will Hear Challenge to Sturgis Trademarks. The petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the two registered trademarks Sturgis and Black Hills has been accepted and will be heard, and it’s good news for the group “Concerned Citizens for Sturgis” opposing “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc” (SMRI). Opponents to the trademarks claim that when the application to register those trademarks was initially made by the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce in 2001, everyone was using the words on items they were selling. Vendors and others had used Sturgis for patches and other products in connection with the rally as far back as the 1940s. SMRi says that not-for-profit corporation legally acquired the trademarks from the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce and that it’s important for the Sturgis community to own the trademarks. But don’t expect a judge decision very soon. The trial is scheduled to last beyond 2012, meaning that SMRI will continue to enforce its trademarks, unfairly obtained or not, during the next Sturgis Bike Week.
Harley-Davidson To Add Contract Workers In April. Harley-Davidson Inc will begin adding non-unionized contract workers at facilities in Wisconsin due to new labor contracts that take effect in April. Harley expects to have 325 fewer unionized full-time employees in Wisconsin as of April than it has had under the outgoing contract. That will open up opportunities for the use of some flexible, or contract employees, not subject to a union agreement. Harley-Davidson recently offered voluntary layoffs to unionized employees in an effort to trim its Milwaukee-area hourly workforce by about 25 percent. Overall, Harley-Davidson’s global workforce declined by about 300 people in 2011 compared with 2010. The move toward a more flexible workforce follows a push among manufacturers to transition production costs to a more variable model. For decades, the terms of union contracts sometimes have made it difficult for American manufacturers of heavier machinery and household goods to adjust headcount and other costs to meet shifts in demand.
Myrtle Beach Vendor Permits To Be Cut From 7 to 5 Days. Tuesday night, Horry County Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would change how long permits last for vendors during the Spring Harley Rally. The proposed change comes after Myrtle Beach Harley Davidson moved the dates of their Cruisin’ the Coast Spring Rally from May 14-20 to May 18-28, the same weekend as the Memorial Day Atlantic Beach Bike Fest. Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice said, “The bike rallies are the most obtrusive event that we have, and we issue a lot of special event permits. For some reason, we issue the longest permits to the most obtrusive events we have.” Horry County Council will have to vote on the change two more times before it becomes official.