Harley-Davidson is suing California-based clothing company Affliction, alleging the company has sold t-shirts and other items with images that resemble the Harley bar-and-shield logo.
The lawsuit, filed by an affiliate of Harley-Davidson Inc. in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, says a Harley dealer allegedly received a wholesale shipment of Affliction products in October. The dealer told the company the shirts infringed on Harley trademarks and Affliction asked that they be returned.
[caption id="attachment_337858" align="alignright" width="389"]
Two of the Affliction products that allegedly infringe on Harley-Davidson trademarks.[/caption]
The complaint says lawyers for Harley sent a cease-and-desist letter on Oct. 18 to Affliction alleging the company had been selling 20 infringing products and promoting two images as available from its “Artist Den.”
Nearly a month later, Affliction’s lawyers indicated the company would stop selling six of the items but allegedly continued selling the others.
The lawsuit makes six claims against Affliction and asks for an order blocking the company from infringing on Harley trademarks;
Affliction would also have to destroy existing products with infringing images; cover the cost of corrective advertising, pay Harley $2 million per trademark per type of product, pay Harley any profits it earned from infringing items, pay compensatory and punitive damages and pay Harley’s attorney fees.
In a statement, Harley spokesman Michael Pflughoeft said Harley’s brand is one of the company’s most important assets and it is “legally required to exercise control over the use of our trademarks.”
“We make every effort to ensure consumers are not confused by the source of merchandise bearing our trademarks. By altering and reproducing the Harley-Davidson logo for use on clothing, we believe Affliction has violated our trademark, and this violation could cause confusion among customers that Affliction is somehow affiliated with or endorsed by Harley-Davidson,” Pflughoeft said.
Harley is no stranger to court fights over its trademarks. In the last two years the company has sued Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and online retailers SunFrog and GearLaunch.
The Urban Outfitters lawsuit was the second one Harley filed against the company after the two settled a 2014 dispute.