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July 2, 2007 – Hot News

July 2, 2007
Filed under Features

Yamaha wins trademark lawsuit
In the largest piracy case in China ever involving a foreign investor, Yamaha Motor Corp. was awarded $1.1 million in damages in a trademark lawsuit.
Zhejiang Huatian, one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, was reprimanded recently by China’s highest court, the Supreme People’s Court. Zhejiang Huatian and two local distributors have to pay the damages for selling scooters carrying Yamaha’s brand name. The ruling also requires the companies to issue a statement of apology.
Most Chinese pirating cases involve smaller industrial parts and luxury goods, such as designer bags and clothing. Few Chinese copycats have gone as far as Zhejiang Huatian in publicly marketing a full range of products complete with a trademark brand.
The court decision follows five years of legal wrangling. Yamaha filed the suit against the companies in 2002, after confirming they were selling scooters carrying a logo similar to that of the Japanese company. Yamaha says the damage was calculated based on the evidence it gathered for the lawsuit.
“This judgment is a landmark decision,”?Yamaha said in a statement. “We hope our lawsuit serves as a useful reference somehow to other enterprises confronted with similar trademark infringements.”
H-D Files Patent Application for Three-Wheeler
Harley-Davidson has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a three-wheeler, styled similarly to Piaggio’s MP3 and Can-Am’s Spyder, with two front wheels and one rear wheel and with a leaning suspension system.
The application, which also includes Delphi Technologies Inc., was filed Sept. 27, 2006, according to information on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Web site, but it includes a second, closer date — April 5, 2007 — that could indicate the time it was made public.
Harley officials would not comment on the company’s plans if the application is approved or whether the concept is connected to H-D’s current endeavor with Lehman Trikes.
Ducati Would Consider H-D Merger ‘Anytime,’ CFO Says
Ducati Motor Holding, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, would consider a merger with Harley-Davidson “anytime,” said Enrico D’Onofrio, CFO, in an article published by the Financial Times.
A merger with Harley-Davidson would be “totally complementary,” he said, responding to speculation in the market that the two firms had been in talks. And while he declined to comment on the speculation, he did say that the two companies are similar in that they create recreational bikes that consumers fantasize about. Harley-Davidson has an older consumer profile, with an average age of 55, while Ducati owners are about 35, on average.
A marriage would also increase distribution opportunities for Ducati, which is a relatively small manufacturer.
D’Onofrio said Harley also could stand to benefit, as it could be interested in expanding internationally.
Polaris Program Tops $500,000 in Grants to Clubs
Polaris Industries announced the third round of “T.R.A.I.L.S.”?grant recipients, with grants totaling $105,320 for a grand total of $500,458 given to national, state and local ATV clubs since 2006. The grants ranged from $3,000-$10,000.
This time around, the grants went to 12 organizations in 12 states. To date, Polaris has helped to assist 59 ATV organizations in 35 states across the U.S. The funds can be used by organizations for trail development and maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives, lobbying and other projects intended to help both increase and maintain land access.
The grants will be applied toward: land acquisition, trail mapping, marking and maintenance; trail development, stabilization and reforestation; bridge building; Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service and State Forest ride area enhancements and trail mapping projects.
The T.R.A.I.L.S. program makes funds available to not-for-profit national, state and local organizations in the United States. The grant program is dedicated to promoting safe and responsible riding, and preserving access.
BRP Joins Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Following the release of its new three-wheel roadster, the Can-Am Spyder, BRP has joined the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
BRP is now the 12th funding member of the MSF. The conjunction came about after a 20-year lapse from the motorcycle business dated back to the 1970s and 1980s when they manufactured the Can-Am brand of off-road motorcycles.
BRP joins manufacturers such as BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha in the effort to promote rider safety and training across the United States. More than 4.1 million motorcyclists have taken an MSF RiderCourse.
Since 1973, the MSF has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests along with public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all types of skill levels.
SEC Drops Investigation of Harley-Davidson
Harley-Davidson Motor Corp. said that a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into a 2005 shipment cut had concluded without any action being taken against the company.
In April 2005, as it reported first-quarter earnings, the Motor Company cut its shipment and earnings forecast for the year, citing disappointing sales of its bikes. The news sent the company’s shares falling 17 percent.
Angry shareholders sued the company, alleging Harley-Davidson had defrauded them by holding back the news. Those allegations prompted the SEC to open an inquiry into the matter.
V.P. of North American Sales Leaves UM
United Motors announced that Henry Lonski, vice president of North American sales, has left the company to launch his own consulting firm.
Lonski had been with UM since 2006, beginning as a consultant before being promoted into an executive marketing position. Lonski said in a press release that his decision to leave was based on strategic, operational and vision differences with the company.
“As we all know, a cohesive team is formed with everyone moving forward with the same implementation objectives,” he said, “and I realize that United Motors and I have executable differences and it’s best that I move on.”
Before joining UM, Lonski served as vice president of sales and marketing for Vento Motorcycles. He has also served as president for eBay Motors/123.com, and was employed for 13 years in several high-profile positions with Bombardier Inc. Lonski says his consulting firm is a consultancy and search agency for the powersports, recreation and marine markets. psb

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