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Team Oregon Wins Settlement in Motorcycle Safety Foundation Lawsuit

January 7, 2009 – The TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program has announced that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has agreed to drop their copyright infringement lawsuit against Dr. Edward Ray, on behalf of Oregon State University, and Steve Garets, Director of TEAM OREGON.

The Settlement Agreement was finalized on December 19, 2008.  The MSF agreed to abandon its lawsuit without any payment whatsoever from TEAM OREGON and “With Prejudice,” meaning that the MSF cannot file such a lawsuit against TEAM OREGON ever again.

“The MSF was unable to present any proof that TEAM OREGON had, in fact, violated their copyrights,” said Steve Garets, Director of the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program.

“We consulted with numerous copyright experts before and after these curricula were published.  We felt confident all along that there never were any copyright infringements.  We are glad to put this behind us and move forward in providing high quality training for Oregon’s riders.”

The MSF, a California-based corporation owned by the major motorcycle manufacturers including Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, sells their training materials nationally.

The MSF initially filed their suit in 2006 after TEAM OREGON refused to subscribe to the latest MSF curriculum and instead developed an Oregon-specific motorcycle training program of its own.  MSF pressed the suit forward after the Oregon Department of Transportation denied their request to approve the MSF curriculum for a waiver of motorcycle license testing.

”TEAM OREGON built on over 40 years of experience and research to develop our own original curricula,” said Garets.  “There are some ideas in motorcycle safety that nobody can claim as their own intellectual property.  Many of those concepts existed long before the MSF was founded and have been in widespread use ever since.”

In the Settlement Agreement, the MSF recognizes that TEAM OREGON has valid claims of copyright in TEAM OREGON curriculum materials.  As a condition of the settlement MSF insisted that TEAM OREGON accept a free license to incorporate MSF’s copyrighted materials in TEAM OREGON’s publications.

As in the past, however, TEAM OREGON will not incorporate any MSF copyrighted materials in any of the TEAM OREGON curricula.  “We didn’t want or need this license but they insisted that we take it and they gave it to us for free,” Garets said.  “We have no desire to include MSF-owned material in our publications and we’ll continue to preserve the integrity of our curricula.”

“TEAM OREGON never marketed this program outside of Oregon, although a number of state motorcycle safety programs expressed interest,” he remarked.  “We will continue to do exactly what we have been doing in providing the best possible motorcycle safety training for Oregon.”

“This case was a test to learn who, if anyone, really owns motorcycle rider instruction,” said Garets.  “We have an obligation to provide training that fits the unique needs of Oregon’s riders.  It is now clear that we have every right to design and deliver that training”

“I am very satisfied with this outcome and would like to thank the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon State University for defending this suit so ably and tenaciously,” Garets added.  “In protecting our freedom to design high-quality motorcycle training programs they’ve done a great service to the citizens of Oregon and to the entire country.”

The TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program is sponsored by Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Transportation.  TEAM OREGON’s goal is to foster and promote safe motorcycle operation through quality rider education programs and public information campaigns.  TEAM OREGON is funded by a fee on motorcycle license endorsements. (Source: TEAM OREGON press release)

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