Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. Obtains Judgement Against Little Sturgis Rally & Races

Kentucky Group Will Change its Name and Pay the South Dakota Community Oriented Non-Profit for its Previous Unauthorized Use.

Sturgis, SD (May 31, 2011)- Officials with Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. announced today that they have settled the lawsuit with a Kentucky entity formerly billing itself as the “Little Sturgis Rally.”  As a part of the agreement, the Kentucky group has agreed to change both its corporate and trade name, eliminating the word mark Sturgis® when used in connection with a motorcycle rally or any other derivations of marks that may be confusingly similar to those owned by SMRi.   The Kentucky group also agreed to accept a Consent Final Judgment and a Stipulated Permanent Judgment in favor of SMRi and paid the South Dakota community oriented non-profit an “undisclosed sum,” according to Dean Kinney, Chairperson of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc.

“Our organization is charged with promoting and enhancing the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally while providing a charitable return for the greater Sturgis area, and part of that responsibility is to protect the intellectual property of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. from unauthorized use, infringement and counterfeit goods and services,” said Kinney.

The lawsuit began several years ago when SMRi’s predecessor, the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, became aware that the Kentucky event was continuing its unauthorized use even after an attempt by a former associate of the Kentucky organization to federally register the name “Little Sturgis” was rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Longtime Black Hills-area banker John E. Johnson, a board member of SMRi, said the group is committed to protecting the Sturgis Rally. “Tourism is extremely vital to the economy of the Black Hills, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a crown jewel for the industry,” Johnson said. “Motorcycle tourism in the Black Hills and the Sturgis® brand are both at risk if we allow unauthorized use of these valuable marks.  This is not something of importance to just Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. but indeed to the hundreds of Black Hills tourism businesses and jobs that exist, in part, because of the worldwide notoriety of the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally.”

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. is the owner of the portfolio of trademarks and service marks related to the world-famous event, including the word marks STURGIS® and BLACK HILLS ® when used in connection with Rally goods and services.  The City of Sturgis is a licensee of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. and is authorized to sell sponsorships using the intellectual property of the organization.  SMRi also has about a dozen official licensees for a wide- variety of products.  Distributors and retailers of STURGIS® and BLACK HILLS® Rally-related merchandise can be certain they are purchasing authorized and officially licensed merchandise of the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally, simply by sourcing it through a licensee.  “The tourism season is here,” commented Kinney “and we anticipate a strong year for the industry and especially for the hundreds of retailers that sell our products. We appreciate their business and that of the hundreds of thousands of consumers that seek out and purchase the products of this remarkable and historic brand.” Questions regarding the licensing program of the Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally can be directed to Lisa Weyer, a Licensing Agent for SMRI, at 605.347.5336 or Lisa.Weyer@SturgisProducts.com.

Read the Whole Document below

Consent Judgment and Permanent Injunction – SMRi v Little Sturgis Rally & Races for Charity Inc. 05-23-11

 

Local Motorcycle Businesses Revive Rally In Sturgis Kentucky

There are still some details to work out with leases and permits but if everything goes as planned, Sturgis Kentucky will host the first Kentucky Biker Fest at the Union County Fairgrounds July 14-17.

Tim Banks and Carlene Thomas, owners of Custom Biker Wear approached the Union County Fairground board after Little Sturgis Rally and Races cancelled their event last month.  The Thomas’s said they wanted to keep the bikers coming to the fairgrounds.

“We travel all over the country and people know it, people know about this rally. So it’s well known, it’s well established, there’s no sense to let it die,” Banks says.

Read more on this at WFIE

 

Little Sturgis Kentucky Rally Out of Gas

(editor’s note*  There is a new rally at the Union County Fairgrounds on the same weekend as Little Sturgis.  For more info, visit www.kentuckybikefest.com)

The economy has done what the lawyers could not.

It’s put the brakes on the Little Sturgis Rally and Races.

Featured on national television shows and in every major motorcycle magazine in the USA, Little Sturgis was, at one time the largest outdoor display of flesh and motorcycle eye candy in the Southeastern USA.

It was so popular, the Chamber of Commerce of South Dakota sued the Chamber of  Sturgis Kentucky claiming the small town was stealing it’s name.

Citing a drop in attendance and a huge operating loss in 2010, the Sturgis Kentucky Chamber voted today not to hold the 2011 rally, according to a well placed source.

The Chamber issued a press release that stated; “Due to various circumstances, the Board of Directors of the Little Sturgis Rally and Races for Charity, Inc cancelled its annual fundraising motorcycle event that was to be held July 14th-17th, 2011 in Sturgis KY.  The Board of Directors thanks all the volunteers and participants over the past eighteen years that made it possible to raise over $2 million dollars for various charities and educational entities.”

(added 5:30pm) According to a report in the local paper, Board Secretary Lisa Jones said that the economy and the ongoing lawsuit with Sturgis South Dakota over the use of the name “Sturgis” is the reason the rally is taking a “sabbatical” and that it may return in the future.  Both sides in the lawsuit have filed a motion to have the 2008 suit dismissed but that the suit is a “cloud” hanging over the Sturgis Kentucky chamber.