Here's a story about jerks being jerks. A New York holding company has applied for, and been granted ,a trademark for the name “Daytona Beach Bike Week.” They are now saying that they will take legal action against anyone who sells merchandise with that name.
The trademark was bought for $87.50 by a trading company that operates under several names, including Consolidated Distributors Inc. The business has contacted several businesses in the Daytona Beach area, saying that they now own the phrase and they will confiscate any “illegal” merchandise.
This, of course, isn't going to happen without a fight. The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has managed Daytona Bike Week since 1988, has hired a law firm to contest Consolidated Distributors Inc.'s claim.
“Confiscation action would only be possible with a federal trademark, which (Consolidated Distributors Inc.) does not possess,” said Larry McKinney, CEO of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce.
What this all boils down to is this; Yosef Amar, owner of Joe Cool Inc, says that Consolidated Distributors Inc. has been producing t-shirts with “Daytona Beach Bike Week” printed on them since 1987. Amar says that his business was the first to do so.
But Jim Gallagher, the co-owner of Mid-Florida Sportswear, says that his company has been printing shirts continuously since 1977. Gallagher told the News Journal that there were several companies printing t-shirts with “Daytona Beach Bike Week” in the 70's. But Gallagher is not trying to trademark the name, probably because Gallagher isn't a jerk.
According to Heather Vargas, the board-certified intellectual property attorney that is representing the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, says that the phrase cannot be coined because it's a generic descriptive term of an event.
“Registration don't mean anything if they're not based on an actual ownership of the trademark. People have been printing merchandise with the phrase 'Daytona Beach Bike Week,' for decades.”
Consolidated Distributors Inc. says that “Daytona Beach Bike Week” is not a generic term because it involves a specific place, and can therefore be trademarked. And maybe Consolidated is right.. legally speaking. Maybe "Daytona Beach Bike Week," can be trademarked, but should it be?
Consolidated currently has a state trademark which can easily be obtained. All you need to do is provide a single specimen of proof, which does not have to be validated.
To get the trademark removed, the Chamber of Commerce needs to prove that Consolidated was not the first company to use the term “Daytona Beach Bike Week,” or they can prove that Consolidated allowed others to use the trademark for years without permission. Both options should be very easy to prove.
But just to make sure, was anyone at Daytona in the 70's? Have the shirt to prove it?