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Firstbuell
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 11:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Polaris takes a blood-stained page from H-D's legal brief:

".....This is a message from Don Doody for every Indian Rider

Dear Indian Riders

I don't know if you are aware of what the new Indian / Polaris company is doing. Through their law firm they are going after long established Indian suppliers that specialize in the vintage Indians built till 1953.

After wasting thousands of dollars on lawyers, some suppliers have already paid for "licensing agreements" that also include a percentage of sales going to I / P (Indian Polaris). One long time Indian supplier on the east coast has now closed his business because he couldn't afford this "licensing agreement". He had a great product that was made in the USA. The alternate now is an inferior product made in China.

On a recent order of vintage Indian parts I noticed prices on some items had increased 10-20%. The supplier mentioned because of the I / P agreement, costs have gone up and the only way to recoup his new added expenses is to pass it on to his customers.

The new Indian company have been hyping their new bikes on heritage, using old bikes in ads and even copying the Munro streamliner. And now they want to screw the owners and riders of the original Indians. If it wasn't for us the name would be worthless. Don't they realize that we are their best "free" advertising?

I am in contact with a lot of people in the Indian motorcycle community - and they are very upset. I tried to get in touch with someone at Indian. Their 800 numbers direct you to Polaris where no one can give you any contact phone or email to anyone at Indian. Very strange. I finally found a phone # for their media relations person (Robert) but it was discontinued. I did email and he did reply. After a long phone call the bottom line was "they own the Indian name and me and everyone else is going to pay". Not a pleasant person to talk to.

On a You Tube video I discovered the person in charge of Indian was a Steve Menneto. I asked to talk with him and he said Steve was a very busy guy. He would not give me Steve's # or email. Very frustrating - like dealing with the government.

I did some checking on Polaris. This is what I found at Bloomberg. They did nearly $4 billion in sales last year with a net profit of $381 million. Their CEO Scott Wine had a salary package of $31 million in 2012. Many other Polaris executives were not far behind. Scott joined Polaris in 2008 as their new CEO. He was brought in to do some cost savings.

His main cost saving was closing their Osceola, Wisconsin plant and moving it to Monterrey, Mexico costing 500 people their jobs. They will be opening a new plant in Poland this year and India soon. And this is a company portraying an USA image. While the Fat Cats get richer, Americans lose their jobs to cheap wages in foreign countries. This seems immoral to me.

One word describes all this - GREED! Robert at Indian said I'll have to pay. He is wrong. I will never buy any product produced by Polaris. Also any Indian parts that are affected by I / P I will not buy. This company will not see one penny of my hard earned money again. I hope the thousands of Indian riders all over the world do the same. ....."
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Elsinore74
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I can understand I/P taking legal steps to protect what's rightfully theirs, but how could suppliers/manufacturers of parts for pre-1953 motorcycles pose a threat to them?
As the writer above said, owners of old Indians are the best free advertising I/P could ever hope for.
It really does look like a page out of the H-D lawyers' handbook. What next, will Polaris go after Kawasaki for building the Vulcan Drifter models?
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Natexlh1000
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Potato potato sound of a V-twin

Also the term "Hog"

So they should TM the term "Motocycle" next.
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Hughlysses
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

I can understand I/P taking legal steps to protect what's rightfully theirs, but how could suppliers/manufacturers of parts for pre-1953 motorcycles pose a threat to them?

It does seem pretty wacky. Anybody here with a legal background that might be able to explain if this is truly necessary?

The looniest similar case I've seen in recent history is when the Union Pacific Railroad required anybody using their name on model trains to pay licensing fees.
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Arcticktm
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 01:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Details above are sketchy, but I assume this is only for folks making parts/accessories that bear the Indian name and/or logo?
Don't see how Polaris could go after anyone making aftermarket parts without the name, since that describes the entire aftermarket industry for everything.

It sucks if your business was using the logo and now you can't, but I don't see how you can be upset at the legality of it.
A company should own the right to it's name and logo. Polaris paid for it legally from what I have read.
If enough folks are truly pissed about it, capitalism has a way of sorting that out eventually.
Would you expect BMW or Toyota to allow the use of their names for free or little cost? They built those names up, for better or worse.
I know Polaris didn't create Indian, but they did obtain the rights legally.

Personally, I would think a more flexible approach would be in order for vintage parts producers, with a limitation that they cannot make parts for Polaris Indians.
Just what I would do, though.
Polaris is big business. They are not run by enthusiasts. At least not in well over a decade. then again, neither is most of HD.
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Mnscrounger
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 03:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Elsinore, I don't think Indian views the pre 53 parts and accessory makers as a "threat", but if the part or accessory bears the Indian logo, I think they are right to cry foul. Arctick's point of a more flexible approach would be smarter. Since they have no announced plans to tap the pre 53 parts market, They could maintain a lot of good will by perhaps allowing one or two specific historic logos Indian has no intention of using to be given a "pass" for use only on replacement parts (not accessories). That would allow vintage bike owners to continue sourcing quality repro parts, allow those manufacturers wishing to use the preferred logo to pursue official licensing agreements, and leaves the door wide open for Indian to make their own line of accessories with all the logos, and vintage parts if they see a market worth going after.
(While we are on the subject It would be nice if HD would do the same for Buell products. I doubt they will ever resurrect the brand.)
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Hootowl
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 03:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

If it were me, I'd license the existing suppliers to use my logo (for free) and thank them for keeping my brand alive all these years.

And with reference to Buell, hopefully one day HD will license EBR to make Buell branded "aftermarket" parts. Assuming EBR has the cycles and desire to do so. Shame they trashed the factory tooling, but how hard can it be to reverse engineer something, especially for the engineer who originally engineered the thing?
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Hughlysses
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Custodian/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Custodian/Admin only)

Elsinore, I don't think Indian views the pre 53 parts and accessory makers as a "threat", but if the part or accessory bears the Indian logo, I think they are right to cry foul.

I know very little about copyright law, but my understanding is if you don't actively protect your copyrighted material, then you eventually open it up to be used by anyone. I believe Polaris could license specific vendors to use the logo(s) for whatever fee they chose though (say $1/year or whatever).

On the Buell front, a few months after Buell's closure an anonymous poster here claiming to be from HD's legal department posted that his department had been directed by HD management not to expend any funds to protect Buell copyrights. As I understood it, the inference seemed to be that this might eventually allow Erik to reclaim them.
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