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MSF files lawsuit over intellectual property rights

December 19, 2006
Filed under Features

For the first time, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has filed a lawsuit.

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court, the organization charges Oregon State University, its president and Stephen Garets, both individually and in his official capacity as director of OSU’s Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program, with copyright infringement.

The suit alleges the defendants willfully misappropriated the MSF’s motorcycle safety and training curriculum materials in connection with the development and publication of Team Oregon’s Basic Rider Training curriculum materials, and prepared derivative works based on the MSF’s copyrighted curricula. It also claims the defendants have sought to distribute the misappropriated curriculum outside the state of Oregon. The suit further alleges the defendants falsely associated the MSF with, and identified the MSF as an endorser of the Team Oregon BRT.

“The MSF attempted on multiple occasions to resolve these issues without a lawsuit, but Oregon State University and Garets were unwilling to stop their unlawful conduct,” said Stuart Philip Ross, an attorney with the law firm of Ross, Dixon & Bell, LLP. “After Team Oregon began attempting to market, distribute and offer the BRT curriculum materials to motorcycle safety programs in other states, and it became clear OSU would not prohibit this activity, the MSF had no choice but to take legal action to protect its intellectual property rights.”

“If an organization does not protect its intellectual property rights, it can lose them,” said Dean Thompson, MSF communications director. “The MSF does not object to another entity developing a different basic riding curriculum. However, the MSF does take issue with any entity that takes a shortcut by misappropriating the MSF’s curriculum and misrepresenting it as its own.”

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