A Mexican businessman has won a
trademark case against Harley-Davidson for the use of the name
“Sportster” in Mexico, according to the newspaper La Jornada.
According to the story, a Mexican court
ruled in November that (in Mexico) the Sportster brand actually belongs to an Alberto Lenz. Lenz claimed to have the Mexican rights to the name and actually offered to sell those rights to Harley for $100,000 four years earlier, but they declined.
As a result of the ruling he now stands to gain a large percentage of the selling price of every Sportster
sold in Mexico since 1989 – likely several thousand dollars per
unit sold. The total amount to be paid to Lenz is
still undetermined since the number of Sportsters sold is not yet
known, according to the report.
However, the situation is a little unclear, as Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee claims that there are "inaccuracies" in the story.
Mexican Court’s Order does not obligate Harley-Davidson to pay any money to Mr.
Lenz or any other party, nor does it prohibit Harley-Davidson from selling
Sportster motorcycles in Mexico," says Bob Klein, corporate communications directcor. "Harley-Davidson has been selling Sportster motorcycles in Mexico for decades, long before rights were claimed by the
plaintiffs, and this court decision does not impact future sales of Sportster
You can read the La Jornada story in translated form at translate.google.com.
Phoney stuff eh? Harley will probably just rename the bike a Crapster or something, and get around the problem. Remember when GM had the trademark “Wrangler” in Canada – Jeep renamed the vehicle a TJ for the Canadian market.