You Can't Turn Bicycles Into Wine: Trek Bicycle's Trademark Lawsuit Against Trek Winery Dismissed

from the drink-up dept

We keep seeing cases where companies think that a trademark gives them a total monopoly over the trademark. That, of course, is not true. Not only is a trademark only supposed to be limited to cases of confusion or (in more recent construction) dilution, it's also only supposed to be applied in areas of commerce that compete. In other words, it's perfectly fine to use the same mark in totally different business areas. But, of course, some companies simply refuse to believe that (Monster Cable is famous for ignoring this, for example). But, thankfully, judges are quite aware of this. Brian points out that a judge has dismissed a trademark lawsuit brought by Trek Bicycle Corp. (makers of, you guessed it, bicycles) against a small northern California winery called Trek Winery. In this case, the lawsuit was dismissed for jurisdictional problems, in that the case was brought in Wisconsin (where the bicycle company is based), despite the vast majority of the winery's business being in California. But, still, the judge questioned whether or not there could actually be any confusion at all in Wisconsin. Apparently, the bicycle company cited three orders to Wisconsin -- two of the orders went to relatives of the winery's owners and one order went to a spouse of an employee of the bike company (and that single order was just a test to confirm that the winery would deliver to Wisconsin). Those are hardly quantities that would threaten the bike company's business.

Of course, this does mean that a lawsuit could be filed again in Northern California, but again, you have to wonder who's confusing a bicycle with a bottle of wine? Separately, another article on the lawsuit notes that the producers of Star Trek were originally concerned about the wine, but eventually decided it wasn't worth pursuing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jennifer, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Trek

    Trek isnt a common word so I see their point of view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Who cares? Do they have and sell T-Shirts? What's that? A resounding "Yes?"

    Techdirt -1 Trek +1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    I agree. It's always good to find a company that can deliver, without FTC intervention, what is on a website's homepage. It's sad that we even have to think about wasting bureaucrats time with researching false and erroneous claims such as "a multitude" of T-Shirts may be available for jerks that subsidize ongoing business operations of content providers which they enjoy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Hey, I have an idea. Why don't you also make all these paying jerks have their comments moderated?

    That will show 'em for being a sucker!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Coco Was Screwed, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Trek

    WTF, it means long journey, how is it not a "common" word? Just because you have a limited vocabulary doesn't mean the rest of the world does...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The owl flies at moonlight?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    DS, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The black dog runs at night.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Trek

    Uh, "sarcasm" is a common word too. You might want to look it up...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    william (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    this is one of the most confusing thread I've read so far...

    @_@

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Trek is a common word

    a journey or trip, esp. one involving difficulty or hardship

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Trek

    Yeah, but how to successfully use sarcasm is not so common.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All your comprehension are belong to us....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 3:30pm

    "You Can't Turn Bicycles Into Wine"

    What if you set them out long enough to ferment? Will they then turn into alcohol?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Oh No

    As long as there are no red shirts in the bicycle ads I don't see that it would have any problems either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Re:

    My hovercraft is full of ells

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:55pm

    I don't get what they're wining about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: You Can't Turn Bicycles Into Wine

    Betcha Jesus could.
    He has a trek ... uh ... track record of such things

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    anon91803 (profile), Mar 6th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Thanks for the head's up!

    Hi, Mike, thanks for the post. I enjoy your blog and appreciate your work.

    My current Trek bike is no longer meeting my needs so when I replace it I will be buying from someone else now.

    And, I will now try Trek wines if I see them.

    Using lawsuits to bully businesses with coincidentally similar names is short sighted.

    If Trek Bikes wants to pay the winery the same amount they sued the Trek Winery for I might reconsider.

    Keep up the good work!
    Mr. A Non
    LA, CA, USA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: You Can't Turn Bicycles Into Wine

    I think I missed that story in the bible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Andy Podshadley, Mar 8th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Trek vs. Trek Wine

    Hello Mr. A Non,

    Thank you for the post. We are going to be in Southern CA the week of the 14th for the Family Winemakers Tasting (Anaheim and San Diego). Stop by and try Trek Wines.

    Thank you ll who supports the outcome. We cannot understand the correlation of Bikes and Wine.

    Andy Podshadley
    Trek Wine
    www.trekwine.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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