Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. Gets Judgment Against Little Sturgis Rally & Races.

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 [email protected].

20 Responses to “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. Gets Judgment Against Little Sturgis Rally & Races.”

  1. 1 Walt Lumpkin May 31st, 2011 at 10:56 am

    It’s not like anyone who cared would be confused and those that would be confused don’t care.

  2. 2 Seymour May 31st, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Jeezus. Sturgis must be using HD’s lawyers.

  3. 3 May 31st, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Totall bullcrap. What stops a town that’s been around longer than another same name town from using it’s own name? A bunch of us Yanks were going to do the Little Sturgis this summer until they cancelled it…

  4. 4 wheresthebeef May 31st, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Well they have a name, registered to protect, how’d you feel about a Yamaha Road Glide being Produced or Maybe a Suzuki Indian Chief, Maybe Ford should start making Corvettes, heck lets just start our own Biketoberfest in Panama City FL, There are rules and laws regarding names and rights and what you have to do to protect them. Does anyone really believe that Sturgis KY is taking
    business from Sturgis, no, however consider that with travel costs up, and limited extra dollars
    some folks might see the name and think it was worth going to see… I think they should change the name of the town to SturgisSucks KY and then advertise the event LOL

  5. 5 Delski May 31st, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Why wouldn’t they partner up and market Sturgis rally.

    If you had fun here at the little rally come try the real thing !

    I hope they get to keep the name

  6. 6 Tobby May 31st, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    wheresthebeef you are confusing a trademark with a wordmark. Workmarks have a much narrower protection. Thus, the Sturgis Auto Repair shop can not be denied use of the name Sturgis, whereas the name Sturgis Motorcycle (Anything) would be protected. One must also prove that is was used originally and continuously. The precursor to the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce did this way back when the buffalo roamed the streets. The Daytona Chamber did not take out any protection for the name Daytona Beach BikeWeek and it is not protected. By the way Biketoberfest was tradmarked as it is a unique name.

  7. 7 Heavy Metal May 31st, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Little Sturgis had a charm of it’s own. I haven’t been to the “real” Sturgis rally since ’99. Just got burned out on all the corporate BS. I’m going to miss little Sturgis this year, it was only a 125 mi. ride for me. What a huge victory for those big time lawyers. If and when the little sturgis rally resumes it will not matter what they rename it, everyone will still call it little sturgis.

  8. 8 nicker May 31st, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    “…Sturgis Motorcycle (Anything) would be protected…”

    Seems like there has to be more to it than that.
    Anyone opening a MC shop in down town Sturgis could reasonably expect to call it “Sturgis Motorcycle Repair” (assuming the city had grant ya a business permit).

    Sure wouldn’t expect to have to call it.. “Motorcycle Repair Down The Road From Deadwood.”


  9. 9 Jun 1st, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I’ve been in buisness for 18 years with my DBA [Doing Buisness As] licence “Freebird Custom Motorcycles”. I’m registered with the Federal Government as a manufacturer with “Freebird” on the titles of the quality bikes/trikes I sell. Anywho, some clowns in Pennslvania [or some east coast place] decided to start a shop called “FreebYrd Custom motorcycles” with the song ‘an everything! I called them up ‘an asked what the Hell is goin’ on! “Well, “Freebird” was already taken so we did “FreebYrd”! Dirty, rotten Muther-F*ckers!! They sell a piece of crap motorcycle, people see it, and are told it’s a “Freebird”! WTF!! Why I otta…!! Can’t afford to pay a bunch of greedy lawyers so all I could do was open up on ’em with both barrels [verbaly, with EXTREME PREGIDICE]! I guess you could say I stole the word “Freebird” from the song in the first place, but I was FIRST!! And I used it to describe a lifestyle, attitude, idea of freedom, my soul! I dunno if I’m full of crap myself, but there’s definately a conflict here as far as the name “Freebird Custom Motorcycles”is concerned! Wiz

  10. 10 Walt Lumpkin Jun 1st, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Wiz: I’d start with one of those inexpensive lawyer written directives to cease and desist letters. It is less expensive to be on the offensive than the defensive. If you can get a court date in your town they would have to travel. Expensive, especially if they bring a lawyer. If they don’t show up you will probably get a directed verdict. If they do show up ask the judge for a continuance. More travel and expense.

    If you can’t politely get them to do the right thing you can break them financially. To me the name is a blatant rip off. Karma can be a bitch. (ps: I’m not a lawyer)

  11. 11 Jun 1st, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Little Sturgis will be renamed Kentucky Bikefest. is the word I heard.

  12. 12 Jun 1st, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I went to Little Sturgis in the early years and did some articles on it for Easyriders.
    I like to think the articles we do on some of the smaller events (compared to Daytona, Laconia and Sturgis) in Easyriders “BIKER” magazine helps these events become noticed and with that of course grow.
    It was and until it was canceled this year a Very Fun Event with a slightly Adult Attitude.
    There are many motorcycle riders who perfer these kind of events compared to the larger more expensive ones and to each his own.
    I understand what Sturgis SD is saying but I personally do Not Agree. The reason is the event in Kentucky also has a town of Sturgis close by.
    Yes it may be a stretch and a use of words but it Clearly was Little Sturgis Rally and Races.
    OH WEll. I hope I hope that the people who have been running this event do bring it back with a new name.
    If they do I Would Definately Be Interested In Covering It For One Of The Publications.

  13. 13 bigitch Jun 1st, 2011 at 10:18 am

    so i guess the greedy bastards are gonna go after the small bike fests that goes by the name…”too broke for sturgis”. or the ones that are held in the spring known as …”too early for sturgis”.

    so then i wonder if they will go after the portable toilet vender known as… “wipe your ass in sturgis”?

  14. 14 TattooedinTexas Jun 1st, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Like Sturgis doesn’t get enough money from the poor saps that go every year. I spend enough money there I can guarantee it…getting way to damned corporate anyway…would be better to go to the Little Sturgis Rally. I’m sure I would come home with some money still left in my pocket and much nicer memorabilia…I’m also sure that if they were to “team up” so to speak, Sturgis would get even richer…just amazes me that if they can’t get a piece of it, then they destroy it. Gotta love how GREEDY they have become…just sayin’….

  15. 15 Jun 4th, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I just recieved a magazine with a ad for Kentucky Bikefest @ Sturgis KY.

  16. 16 Jun 6th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I think this is really sad. Why do they call the Sturgis Rally “Sturgis”. Because it is in Sturgis, South Dakota. What should they call the rally in Sturgis , Kentucky? Maybe the Black hills rally? Greed is a terrible thing even if you pretend to be Robinhood and give the proceeds to your own charitable organizations

  17. 17 dragon Jun 12th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    so everone we will be going to KENTUCKY BIKEFEST in LIL STURGIS LMAO i love it

  18. 18 ccc Jun 29th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Not cancelled just renamed and new people running it. More events and cost less than last year. Should be fun ath the Kentucky Bikefest. I guess we can still call it Lil Sturgis.

  19. 19 DK Hughley Jul 6th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    This whole situation stinks to high hell! I live in the Black Hills and have always carried Sturgis merchandise – that is until this year. I’ve been “visited” on several occassions by “representatives” of this SMRI and threatened with everything from a lawsuit to having my products confiscated off my sales floor. The local company that I have purchased Sturgis products from for may years has done their best to reassure me that this cannot happen but I made the hard decision to just avoid the drama this year and stick to regular souvenir items. This decision will be a blow to my bottom line as well as to the bottom line of my supplier. I’m not the only person to make this decision and I feel bad for the negative impact this whole situation will have on the earning potential for my RPG sales rep. I just don’t need the aggrevation. I hope the greedy bastards BURN.

  20. 20 desperado Aug 10th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    That’s it I’m boycotting Sturgis. After 12 years attending – I’m thru. Hope they go belly up. How nit- picking can it get!

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