A tiny diner in Massachusetts has scored a big victory against multinational Harley-Davidson for the right to feature a mural of the company’s famous bar-and-shield logo over their doorway.
Three years ago Miss Worcester Diner owner Kim Kniskern asked local artist Tony Freitas to paint the HD logo in honour of their many customers who rode the iconic American motorcycle.
But when Harley was recently alerted to the breach of their valuable trademark, they sent a cease-and-desist letter:
While Harley-Davidson truly appreciates your enthusiasm for the brand… we often run into enthusiasts such as yourself who utilise our marks in commercial endeavours, however, by using our trademark on the exterior, public facing portion of your business of your business, you have created the impression that there is an affiliation or other relationship with Harley-Davidson where no such relationship exists.
Kim fought back with a petition that attracted almost 4300 signatures in a few days including many from Australia after our article last week.
However, they have now reached an agreement that Sheldons Harley-Davidson in Auburn sponsors the sign and add their shop logo.
(Obviously the sign controversy caused some angst at the local dealership!)
Kim is pictured above with Tony and Chad Sheldon.
Diner says thanks
“Thank you for all your support and love,” says Kim.
“I’ve learned a lot these last few days and I’m very blessed to have so many people on my side.
“My whole community was just so in support of me and that humbles me no end.
“As soon as the weather gets a little warmer Tony will be getting up there to paint Sheldon’s logo.”
Tony said he did not believe they were doing anything wrong.
“I deal with copyright laws all day every day and the law actually states … that I can produce any logo and use it and sell it as long as it’s done one at a time by hand and sold privately,” he says.
But he admitted it was a “grey area” being displayed on a building.
Anyway, it seems a good result has been achieved with level heads after some hostile reaction from Harley riders.
Kim and Tony should consider themselves lucky to have won against the powerful corporate giant.
The bar-and-shield logo is among the world’s most recognised logos and is worth millions to Harley.
In the past 40 years Harley has sued many small and large companies for unlawfully using their brand. See some of the articles below.
Last year the company employed its first brand president to protect its trademark.
And in the late 1990s they even tried to trademark their distinctive “potato-potato” exhaust noise. It failed in US courts.