Questions remain over legal disputes at Dealer Expo

Questions continue to linger over what legal disputes have emerged from the Dealer Expo after the show’s daily newspaper reported potential patent thefts and other intellectual property abuses.
One manufacturer at the show, Team Joyner USA, says a Chinese exhibitor was displaying an illegal copy of one of its off-road vehicles. John Burns Jr., vice president of Team Joyner, says his company learned from one of its brake manufacturers that the vehicle had been illegally purchased by the Chinese manufacturer from another parts manufacturer during its assembly.
Team Joyner officials also said boxes of their catalogs and dealer price lists that were taken off their freight were later found at several Chinese exhibitors’ booths. Burns says the company’s legal department is currently in the process of filing lawsuits against the companies in question.
Burns’ claim was just one of the reported patent incidents during the show, which also involved companies possibly copying products from at least one major OEM.
Concerns over patent infringement were enough to draw one major OEM that was not exhibiting their product to attend the show.
Russ Jura, head of Yamaha’s legal department, says the company did have a representative at Dealer Expo taking photos of potential property rights violations, but says Yamaha did not serve legal papers to any exhibitors at the show. He would not comment on whether Yamaha is pursuing any legal matters connected to the photos taken at the Expo.
Contrary to published reports in the Feb. 18th edition of the show’s daily newspaper, agents from the U.S. Marshal Service were not on the show floor and did not serve papers to anyone during the event, said Mark Robinet, director of public affairs for the U.S. Marshal Service office in Indianapolis. “I can verify 100 percent that no U.S. Marshals were on the show floor or served papers to anyone at Dealer Expo,” Robinet said.
Robinet says if papers were served, they were likely done by private professionals hired by a manufacturer. In civil matters, anyone who is certified and over 18 can serve process papers, and the orders are from a district court, not a federal one.
“A process like that was most likely served by a private professional, but trying to find out which manufacturer had papers served on another is like finding a needle in a haystack,” he said. “In a private civil matter like this, those papers could have been ordered out of any district courtroom in the country, so there’s just no way to know.”
Powersports Business also could not verify a report that an Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) official was in attendance at the show looking for counterfeit EPA certifications.
Advanstar, which organizes Dealer Expo and provides security for the show, sympathizes with manufacturers who might have had their intellectual property rights violated, but maintains that it isn’t their job to enforce that during the show.
“That’s not a job that Advanstar does,” said Trevor Trumbo, show manager for Dealer Expo. “As the show promoter we do respect their individual property rights, but the nature of it is that we need to be a neutral party until an official judgment has been presented to us. There’s not any way that we can be in charge of intellectual property rights.”
As far as providing security for a manufacturer’s property after show hours, Trumbo says Advanstar has been and will continue to be diligent about making sure incidents like taking photos of covered vehicles, etc., don’t occur in the future.
And when asked about the discrepancy in the attendance of U.S. Marshals, Advanstar said the information was received from a third party.

Saxon motorcycle gets EU license
Saxon Motorcycles Europe says it has obtained the European Type approval, making all of their bikes road legal and allowing them to be licensed by dealers in the European Union and Switzerland.
Saxon said no other production custom motorcycle company has received such a rating throughout the EU.
Saxon Motorcycles Europe, founded in January 2006 by Frank Vermeulen and Rinke Andringa of the Netherlands, was created specifically to provide the European market with custom, American-style motorcycles.
“Obtaining European Type approval is a huge accomplishment for Saxon,” said David Schwam, vice president of sales and marketing for Saxon Motorcycle Co. USA.
The approval has been granted for two European models, the Warlord, a U.S. high-neck chopper, and the Firestorm, a long and low prostreet.

Colorado dealerships merge in Denver
Two Denver dealerships, Faster and TK, recently joined forces and started working out of one central location, called Faster! Motosports.
Earlier this year Brian Destarac of TK approached Faster with the idea of joining together, according to a press release. Faster Motosports will offer the service that TK Motorsports provided and will continue to be a VP Racing Fuel, Bridgestone race tire and authorized Öhlins and Dynojet service center.
Faster Motosports performs high-performance engine modifications for sport bikes, watercraft, snowmobiles and ATVs and specializes in vintage 10-plus year-old street bike repairs.

New media company launched in U.S.
A new consumer publishing company, which will include several powersports titles, has been formed from a deal involving several former Time Warner magazines.
The new company, the Bonnier Corp., was formed with the combination of Time Inc.’s Parenting Group and Time4 Media brands with the Sweden-based Bonnier’s U.S. magazine partner, World Publications. Part of the deal includes the purchase of 18 magazines from Time Inc., a Time Warner company (NYSE: TWX).
The former Time Inc. properties include Trans World Motocross, TransWorld Ride BMX and QUAD: Off Road Magazine.

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