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.