Wednesday, March 3, 2010
In true David vs. Goliath style, an obscure California winery held its ground in court yesterday against Trek, the largest U.S. manufacturer of bicycles and related products. Novato-based Trek Wines was sued by Trek Bicycle Corporation in October 2009 for trademark infringement, in the matter of Trek Bicycle Corporation v. Trek Winery, LLC, in the Western district court in Wisconsin. Trek Bicycle Co. accused the winery of federal and state trademark infringement when three cases of their wine made it to Wisconsin (Trek bikes’ home state) last year.
U.S. District judge Barbara Crabb granted Trek Wine’s motion to dismiss, stating that “Plaintiff cannot argue seriously that three isolated sales show that defendants have made such purposeful availment of the benefits of Wisconsin’s laws that they could reasonably anticipate being hauled into court in this state.” According to the North Bay Business Journal, two of the cases sold in Wisconsin went to relatives of Trek Wine owners. The other was sold to a Trek Bicycles employee, according to Judge Crabb, “to confirm that defendants were able and willing to sell wine into the state.” (Come on Trek, a setup?)
American small business owners can rest assured; their registered trademarks are every bit as valid as those registered by the big boys.