[CR]Legal issues for repro logos (long)

Example: History:Norris Lockley

From: CBKNYC@aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2002 00:18:05 EST
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Legal issues for repro logos (long)

-- list members imply that making repro parts is dishonest in some way, when I -- do not believe this is the case with the facts at hand. '

If a part contains the word "Campagnolo" or "Raleigh" or whatever, and does NOT:

-- come from the source that historically was identified by those words or

-- come from a source authorized by the historic source; or

-- contain any explanatory note ("unauthorized reproduction of")

then the words are potentially deceptive as to source. Right? I'm not talking law yet, just how a potential customer now or 10 years from now may perceive the word "Raleigh".

-- The legal question that needs to answered -- about the Campy hoods is not how they are made nor what they are made of, -- but solely whether the Campy old-style logo displayed on the hoods is -- protected by current registration with the federal trademark and patents -- office.

Incorrect. You really ought to speak with an intellectual property lawyer.

In the U.S. at least, trademark rights are created by USE in commerce. A trademark can be registered on a state or federal basis (or both), but trademark can exist before registration, without a registration, and after a registration lapses for non-renewal. In the U.S. a prior USER even has superior rights over a registrant -- and (assuming the use by both companies would be likely to cause confusion) a prior user can cause the registration by a later user to be canceled.

Campagnolo, and anything confusingly similar ("Campy") is, of course, still a very active trademark. No one other than the real source (or someone licensed by the source) can use such words on bicycle parts without causing confusion about the real source. It doesn't matter that a particular Campy product is not made anymore.

An interestingly different situation exists with companies that no longer exist. Consider making parts labeled "Pops Brennan" (a extinct line of -- I think -- track bikes from Newark, NJ). There is no Pops around anymore to complain about such use, and few left who might believe there is a connection between the current user of that name and any prior user. But while there might not be trademark infringement in such a case, there could still deception -- and isn't deception the purpose? I haven't researched this, but my guess is some species of false advertising or unfair competition could be involved.

-- Raleigh USA has been bought/sold/franchised by several holding companies -- since these decals were produced over 25 years ago, and Raleigh's originals -- decal designs were destroyed over 20 years ago. My subsequent attempts for -- 25 years to obtain these decals were met with Raleigh Customer Support in -- the USA and England claiming "we don't have and have never seen those" -- responses. Like the guy reproducing the Campy hoods, I have stepped up to -- the plate and now offer factory duplicate parts (decals) that the OEM -- manufacturer ignores and chooses not to reproduce for whatever reasons.

To the extent anyone sees the decals and believes they are genuine, the decals do a disservice. "Genuine" doens't mean "looks good", it means from the source or authorized by the source. The fact the real source doesn't feel like authorizing them doesn't given anyone else the right to make copies -- part of owning a trademark or copyright (etc.) is the right NOT to use it.

-- Regarding legal technicalities, I am legally protected by the federal -- trademark facts that Raleigh never renewed its US trademark name or logo for -- its brands in the USA that I reproduce

Incorrect. See above. Registration is not the key. The "likelihood of confusion as to source" is the key. Dilution, unfair competition, unfair advertising and other things could be involved.

-- Therefore my decal renderings are protected by legal "freedom of speech" as artistic -- interpretations and exact reproductions of originals where Raleigh -- International abandoned its trademark rights long ago.

PUHleeze! what are you claiming to "express"? There is no "freedom" to deceive. Now possibly YOUR products don't deceive -- I haven't seen them, and by this post I mean to express general legal principles, not to give an opinion on anyone's operation or products. But IF a product is likely to cause confusion as to its source (now or 10 years from now) I find "freedom of speech" a lousy defense.

The bike biz is really odd on the subject of decals. My "Masi" has "genuine" decals of Alberto Masi -- but they were put on by a company that did a restoration in the US, and I wonder if it was authorized by Alberto to use them. The bike is terrific and beautiful, and the *restoration company's* logo is also on the bike -- which is a way is a certificate of UNauthenticity, which maybe makes use of the logos okay.

- Charles

==================== Charles B. Kramer New York, NY cbknyc@aol.com John Marshall J.D. and Law Review 1981 McGeorge International Program 1982 New York University Masters (LL.M.) Intellectual Property Law 1984 Lord, Day & Lord 1984-1987 (associate) Bloodtype: unknown, but thick