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Packaging Supplies, Inc v. Harley-Davidson

May 12, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.


Before the Court are two unopposed motions for summary judgment filed by the Harley-Davidson parties. Defendants move for summary judgment on all of the counts of Plaintiff's complaint [71]. Counterclaim Plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment on Counts I, II, V, and VII of their counterclaim (the counts that allege trademark infringement and unfair competition) [73]. For the following reasons, both of the pending motions [71, 73] are granted.

I. Background

Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant Packaging Supplies, Inc. ("PSI") is an Arizona corporation with its principal place of business in Scottsdale, Arizona. Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff Harley-Davidson, Inc. is a Wisconsin corporation with its principal place of business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. is a Wisconsin corporation with its principal place of business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is responsible for the sale of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, parts and accessories, and general merchandise to Harley-Davidson dealers. Counterclaim Plaintiff HD Michigan, LLC is a Michigan corporation with its principal place of business in Ann Arbor, Michigan. H-D Michigan is the owner of the Harley-Davidson trademark rights asserted in this action. Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the ultimate parent corporation of its subsidiaries, H-D Michigan, LLC and Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. Collectively, the Court will refer to Defendants and Counterclaim Plaintiffs as "Harley-Davidson."*fn1

Plaintiff commenced this action on January 17, 2008. On March 30, 2009, the Court denied Harley-Davidson's motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) [32]. On April 14, 2009, Harley-Davidson answered Plaintiff's complaint and asserted affirmative defenses and counterclaims [35]. The parties conducted full fact discovery. On August 30, 2010, Harley-Davidson filed its motions for summary judgment along with a consolidated statement of undisputed facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1. After receiving input from the parties regarding their preferred briefing schedule, the Court set a deadline of October 13, 2010 for Plaintiff's responses and November 3, 2010 for Harley-Davidson's replies [79]. As of the date of this order, Plaintiff has filed no papers whatsoever in response to Harley-Davidson's motions. Nor has Plaintiff requested an extension or made any filing at all in this case. Because Plaintiff has failed to controvert Harley-Davidson's statement of facts [75], the Court deems those facts admitted so far as they are supported by admissible record evidence.*fn2

See Local Rule ("L.R.") 56.1(b)(3)(C); Bell, Boyd, & Lloyd v. Tapy, 896 F.2d 1101, 1102 (7th Cir. 1990).

A. Harley-Davidson's Trademarks

Harley-Davidson began selling motorcycles in the United States in 1903 and has since become an iconic brand that is recognized worldwide. H-D Michigan, LLC is the owner of a number of Harley-Davidson's federal trademarks and service marks, including the word mark "HARLEY-DAVIDSON," the "Bar & Shield" logo and the "MotorClothes" logo.

Bar & Shield logo MotorClothes logo

The registrations for these marks remain in full force and effect and the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") has accepted and acknowledged Section 15 incontestability affidavits for all of the relevant registrations. The Harley-Davidson name mark and logos are collectively referred to herein as the "H-D Marks."

The H-D Marks are widely recognized as among the world's most famous trademarks. By virtue of Harley-Davidson's extensive use and promotion of the H-D Marks, consumers have come to recognize Harley-Davidson as the source or sponsor of a wide range of quality products marketed under the H-D Marks. Harley-Davidson has invested substantial time, effort and money in advertising and promoting the H-D Marks for decades, exposing the Marks to millions of people. Between 2004 and 2008 alone, Harley-Davidson spent more than $344 million on advertising, promoting, and marketing products and services under the H-D Marks, with the majority of that advertising taking place in the United States. Between 2004 and 2008 alone, Harley-Davidson sold nearly 1.25 million motorcycles in the U.S. generating over $16.3 billion in sales. During that same period, Harley-Davidson sold more than $4.1 billion of motorcycle parts and accessories worldwide and more than $1.3 billion of apparel and collectibles worldwide, the majority of which sales took place in the United States. In addition, for the past five years, Harley-Davidson has received substantial royalty revenues from licensing its trademarks, with the majority of these revenues coming from the United States.

The federal trademark registrations for the H-D Marks cover use of the Marks on a wide variety of Harley-Davidson products including, for example, motorcycle accessories, helmets, jackets, hats, t-shirts and dozens of other items in addition to motorcycles. Additionally, Harley-Davidson has used the H-D Marks on merchandise bags supplied to its dealers since at least 1987, and has sold more than forty million merchandise bags bearing H-D Marks to its dealers since then. Harley-Davidson markets and sells its merchandise bags bearing the H-D Marks to its dealers through its MotorClothes merchandise catalogs.

B.PSI's Use of H-D Marks

PSI's business is plastic merchandise bags. These bags are not sold in stores; rather they are used by consumers for carrying away their purchases after transactions with PSI's clients. The bags are custom printed, and since 1964 PSI has been selling them to retailers, manufacturers and franchise operators throughout the United States. Beginning around 2002, numerous Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships (125 out of 679) were among PSI's clients. These dealerships are independently owned and licensed, and the bags that PSI made were customized for each dealer-client.

PSI used one or more of the H-D Marks on every (or nearly every) merchandise bag sold to a Harley-Davidson dealer. PSI admits that its supply of merchandise bags to Harley-Davidson dealers depends on its use of H-D Marks. PSI has never been licensed by Harley-Davidson to use the H-D Marks and never sought Harley-Davidson's permission to use the H-D Marks.*fn3

PSI has sold its bags to Harley-Davidson dealers in competition with Harley-Davidson and has displaced it as a supplier of merchandise bags at certain dealerships. PSI also used the H-D Marks in promotional materials that PSI used to promote its business. Starting in approximately 2004, PSI promoted its business by disseminating to prospective customers fliers that depicted merchandise bags produced for Harley-Davidson dealers and incorporating H-D Marks. During that period, PSI sent approximately 1,000 fliers each year to Harley-Davidson and other motor sports dealers. For those Harley-Davidson dealers that expressed an interest in PSI's merchandise bags, PSI routinely sent sample packs of bags ...

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