DAYTONA BEACH, FL – December 22, 2011 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Daytona Regional Chamber Wins Landmark Decision For The Community: The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Cobb Cole law firm earned a hard fought victory on behalf of the City of Daytona Beach and the surrounding communities yesterday. United States District Court Judge Mary Scriven issued an order prohibiting one local company and two apparently related New York companies from claiming exclusive ownership of the term “Daytona Beach Bike Week” and threatening others with prosecution if they did not pay for the use of the name.
In late 2009, the Chamber discovered that Consolidated Distributors, Inc., Joe Cool, Inc., and Mettemp Inc., were sending letters to local business threatening to sue them for damages if the local businesses did not pay a royalty for each item that was sold bearing the term “Daytona Beach Bike Week,” and its variations used during the event. The Chamber, in partnership with Cobb Cole, stepped up and defended the Community’s use of the term by filing suit to stop the Defendants.
In its decision the Court found that the Defendants were barred from claiming ownership of the term because “Daytona Beach Bike Week and its functional equivalents are generic and cannot receive trademark protection.” This means that the term Daytona Beach Bike Week belongs to the community, and not any one person or entity. The Chamber and co-plaintiffs Good Sports Daytona, Inc., were awarded a final judgment cancelling the Defendants attempt to trademark the term “Daytona Beach Bike Week” finding that the Defendant’s registration of the term as a trademark was “fraudulently obtained or, alternatively, was improperly granted.”
Daytona Regional Chamber Chairman of the Board, Thomas J. Leek, who is also a partner with Cobb Cole, enthusiastically endorsed the decision, “In our minds this was always a fight to protect our business community, our City, and the greater community at large, and specifically to fight off the Defendants’ attempt to take something that wasn’t theirs … and then charge people for using it. This ruling ensures that the mark will remain the property of the City of Daytona Beach and the community at large, for all local businesses and distributors to use in perpetuity. This is a significant milestone in that it will live as a warning to future trademark squatters, and provide protection for all to continue to enjoy the use the mark.”
The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce has acted as managers of Bike Week in Daytona Beach since 1988, marking the formation of its Bike Week Festival Task Force. Comprised of over 30 individuals representing a variety of organizations and disciplines from both the public and private sectors, the Task Force acts as stewards of the event and performs many duties and functions geared toward improving the quality of the event and overall experience of Bike Week visitors.
Bike Week Festival Task Force Co-Chairman Bob Coleman was also relieved to hear the news, “This has certainly been a long road but we are delighted that the court has chosen to make a strong statement denying any claim of ownership to what has always been a term freely used by our businesses. This should be a timely relief of a burden hanging over those businesses planning for the 2012 event.”
Daytona Regional Chamber President Larry McKinney also had high praise for the Chamber’s legal team, “We’d especially like to thank the law firm of Cobb Cole, and specifically attorneys Kelly Parsons Kwiatek and Heather Vargas. When this issue first arose in 2009, the Chamber recognized the serious negative implications of what the Defendants were trying to do, but we didn’t have the legal or financial resources to fight the Defendants off. That’s when Cobb Cole stepped up and agreed to partner with us to protect our community. Their tireless efforts and legal skills were the key to our success, and this victory for our community is a gift that all can enjoy for many years to come.”
The 71st Anniversary of the “World’s Largest Motorcycle Event ” will be held March 9th through March 18th as Bike Week 2012 roars into Daytona Beach. Additional information on Bike Week in Daytona Beach can be found on the Official Daytona Bike Week Website at www.officialbikeweek.com or by contacting the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce at 386-255-0981. Thomas J. Leek, Heather Vargas, and Kelly Parsons Kwiatek can be reached at the law offices of Cobb Cole at 386-255-8171.