Breaking News. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc Lost Trademark Damage Award Of $912,500. Alleged Rights To Sturgis Name Challenged Again

All Damages Against Rushmore Photo & Gifts and Wal-Mart Stores are dismissed in a high-profile Sturgis Trademark Lawsuit.

Rushmore Photo & Gifts, Inc. (RPG), the Niemann family, and Wal-mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart) are celebrating a victory over Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. (SMRI) in a controversial, six-year trademark dispute over the name “Sturgis. On March 10, the Court found that RPG and Walmart had valid equitable defenses to SMRI’s trademark claims. The Court vacated and dismissed the entire jury damage award of $912,500 ruling that “SMRI is barred from recovering damages and profits from the defendants for the time period prior to October 30, 2015.”

RPG was sued by SMRI in June of 2011 for infringement of its alleged trademarks, which include the name “Sturgis.” In response, RPG, a Rapid City family-owned business that has sold Sturgis-rally-related merchandise for over 30 years, argued that SMRI’s claims were barred by the equitable doctrines of laches and acquiescence. The Court agreed. The Court, however, also upheld SMRI’s trademark rights – at least for the time being.

“We are very pleased with the ruling of the Court,” said Brian Niemann, co-owner of RPG. “However, we intend to continue the challenge against the validity of SMRI’s alleged rights and will appeal that part of the ruling.”

Patterson Thuente IP trial lawyers Aaron Davis and Eric Chadwick represented RPG, the Niemann family, and Walmart in the case. “We are proud to have defended our clients against SMRI’s overreaching claims,” Davis said. “We are pleased that the Court saw the injustice of SMRI’s claims against the defendants and dismissed all of the damages against them.”

About Rushmore Photo & Gifts Inc.
Rushmore Photo & Gifts, Inc. is one of the largest providers of souvenirs in the Midwest, with services areas covering the states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. A leader in the industry for more than 80 years, RPG offers a complete line of quality souvenirs and a full-service program to match individual needs. For more information, visit RPG Souvenirs.

About Patterson Thuente IP’s Litigation Department.
Patterson Thuente IP’s Litigation Department helps creative and inventive clients worldwide protect and profit from their ideas. Practicing in the areas of patents, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, IP litigation, international IP protection, licensing and post-issuance proceedings, the firm’s attorneys excel at finding strategic solutions to complex intellectual property matters. For more information, contact Aaron Davis at 612-349-5754, Eric Chadwick at 612-349-5778, or visit PTS Law.

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16 Responses to “Breaking News. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc Lost Trademark Damage Award Of $912,500. Alleged Rights To Sturgis Name Challenged Again”


  1. 1 Greeko Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Bravo to all those winning against SMRI. Sturgis belongs to us, the bikers.

  2. 2 Timmy FXR Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Great win, but how much it costs in lawyer fees. SMRI spends the money of bikers in defending a lost cause. Shame.

  3. 3 Andrew Sherk Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Dismantle SMRI with their fake trademark rights.

  4. 4 Bruce Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:23 am

    It’s the beginning of the end for SMRI. Sturgis = freedom, not trademark rights to greedy local businessmen.

  5. 5 Ray Maniford Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Ha, ha. Great victory for RPG and all of us, bikers and vendors.

  6. 6 Mazz Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Not American but I have been to a little city in South Dakota called “Sturgis”, it was named that in 1889, 11 years after the town was incorporated with the name “Scooptown”, thank frig they changed it!!! Now where I come from, no one can “claim” a town or city name as their own. So I think if the City of Sturgis is not putting up a fuss, and why would they, it’s free publicity, then who the heck are these folks to make a fuss over it. And could someone explain to me what the difference is between the “Black Hills Rally” and the “Sturgis Rally” ?? Are they are different times of year? are they two separate events??

  7. 7 boston jim Mar 14th, 2017 at 8:57 am

    The Wal-Marts of the World win again ! BOO! The Richest Family in America, Beats up the local Mom & Pop stores, again! Sad! Someday, Sturgis & Daytona, WILL BE WALLY WORLD Biker Rally! Never Laconia, Live Free or Die!

  8. 8 Joe Citizen Mar 14th, 2017 at 9:44 am

    YAY for justice. Anyone who actually thinks SMRI is a charitable organization needs to do some digging. Maybe look for tax records on the fees they charge vendors or all the money that is paid directly to Good Sports / Hot Leathers, in CT. How is this about helping the City of Sturgis? Hummm…

  9. 9 Bill Gold Mar 14th, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Congratulations on winning the right to sell cheezy merch to old people.

  10. 10 mkviz Mar 14th, 2017 at 11:03 am

    boston Jim

    How much do you wanna bet that 99.9% of the people that go to Stugis are Wal-Mart shoppers? Look a the demographic of Wal-Mart Shoppers and people who attend Sturgis? Coincidence?

  11. 11 BOSS HAWG Mar 14th, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Justice served and well deserved.

    Tar n Feather SMRI and the group…run ’em outta town.

    Now back to the Daytona Bikeweek festivities.

    Enjoy all !

    BossHawg

  12. 12 dan m Mar 14th, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    bill gold got it right! Sturgis makes tons on every “licensed” rag they sell? What are they the Government?

  13. 13 Clyde The Glide Mar 15th, 2017 at 9:56 am

    The names of cities, have a history of not being able to be used by various companies, and not classified as trademarks. Please note The use of city names for automobiles. Black Hills Rally is a different story.

  14. 14 Dante Mar 15th, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Sturgis, the city, does not make tons on every licensed piece they sell, SRMI does, and then they share a small pittance with the city.

  15. 15 rebel Mar 16th, 2017 at 8:56 am

    sounds like a just decision

  16. 16 Doug Mar 20th, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Boston Jim, bad news Laconia is already taken over by the biggest company on the SMRI board. They collect the trademark money and filter it down.

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