Breaking News. Validity Of SMRI Sturgis Trademark Confirmed By Jury In Rapid City.

CHPlawThis evening Friday October 30, 2015 in a Rapid City Federal District Court presided by Chief Judge Jeffrey Vikena, a jury of 8 locals decided to side with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc (SMRI) in a trademark lawsuit brought against Rushmore Photo & Gifts, a local Black Hills Gift shop, and Wal-Mart. It is the result of a civil action started 4 years ago to cancel the trademark acquired by SMRI to license the Sturgis name with merchandise related to the August motorcycle rally.

SMRI was seeking to protect its trademark while Rushmore Photo & Gifts and Wal-Mart were legally challenging it, claiming that the Sturgis name cannot belong to anyone in particular and was fraudulently obtained. In addition, SMRI was looking for damages because Rushmore Photo and Wal-Mart continued to sell Sturgis merchandise without paying a trademark licensing fee and deceiving consumers into thinking that they were buying official Sturgis Rally merchandise. Amount of damages due to SMRI to be released soon.

16 Responses to “Breaking News. Validity Of SMRI Sturgis Trademark Confirmed By Jury In Rapid City.”

  1. 1 marcus Oct 30th, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    On the to Eighth Circuit. No way Walmart rolls over on this.

  2. 2 Patrick Oct 30th, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Unexpected by SMRI. Thousands and thousands of people will not buy any Sturgis licensed merchandise. During the rally, many organizations/groups do charity events bringing locally more money than SMRI. Don’t buy anything from Hot Leathers, member of SMRI.

  3. 3 Frank Massero Oct 30th, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Any possible appeal?

  4. 4 Greeko Oct 30th, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    SMRI is about making money. That’s it.

  5. 5 Bean're Oct 31st, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Why didn’t they just get jurors from Sturgis? Rapid City is considered impartial? really?

  6. 6 Drake Oct 31st, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Jury should have been 8 bikers…

  7. 7 Rodent Oct 31st, 2015 at 6:22 am

    They got the best justice money could buy

  8. 8 JohnyLetGo Oct 31st, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Like me, you should not care because I don’t buy “tourist” tee-shirts. By the way, the “official” Sturgis tees are quite ugly. I don’t buy HD tees. I only buy vintage rock concert tees.

  9. 9 P. Hamilton Oct 31st, 2015 at 6:34 am

    SMRI legal victory is a loss for Sturgis.

  10. 10 Woody Oct 31st, 2015 at 8:47 am

    This decision is just the first quarter, lots of game left to play.

  11. 11 Jeff Nicklus Oct 31st, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    This is far from over!

    Over & Out,


  12. 12 Axel Oct 31st, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Plenty of non-official tees at the rally, and they have a lot better designs. Not to mention cheaper.

  13. 13 nicker Nov 1st, 2015 at 8:32 pm


    You’ve been right about this issue all along.
    In a reasonable world entrepreneurs wouldn’t try to carve out a niche in the public domain.
    But then the operative word here is “reasonable”…… 🙁

    Moreover, if the point was to keep from “…deceiving consumers into thinking that they were buying official Sturgis Rally merchandise …” these customers would actually have to care if their T-shirts were “official”……

    Another case of a motorcycling legacy being abused by those who could care less…… 🙁


  14. 14 Sturgis Pride Nov 2nd, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Don’t let the lies and propaganda of the SMRI PR machine convince anyone this decision was a win for the citizens of Sturgis. SMRI’s position as stated in their press releases is for the need to enforce their “Sturgis” trademark to help raise money for the Sturgis community. If that’s the case, SMRI donated $50,000 to the local community, but how much did the business owners of SMRI profit off the rally? Tens of millions. The greedy profiteers that throw less than bread crumbs to the local Sturgis residents just won, not the the residents themselves. This judgement is going to have a negative, systemic effect on the entire Sturgis Rally as the event transforms from a healthy, open market to a heavily-regulated monopoly. Pray to the rally Gods that the opposition continues the fight.

  15. 15 Blackmax Nov 2nd, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    With Bean’re & Rodent on this one
    And I hope Mr. Nicklus is right that Wal-Mart will at least keep up the fight
    the way I see it the gouging will continue, unabated

  16. 16 Greg Nov 2nd, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    In regards to Sturgis Pride’s question, during court Hot Leathers owner stated they had received $16,000,000 in fees etc….so should they receive the $900,000 plus judgement how much will the Sturgis Charities get of that?

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Cyril Huze