Harley-Davidson sues to protect logo


Harley-Davidson is suing international fashion company Forever 21 for allegedly selling jackets with a rip-off of their bar-and-shield logo.

The famous orange and black logo is one of the most recognised in the world and the colours and design have long been trademarked by the American motorcycle manufacturer.

It’s not only one of the world’s most recognised logos, but also one of the most copied and Harley is very protective of its brand.

Harley also sued online retailer Gear Launch and associated companies a month ago for unlawful use of their logo and has previously sued other companies such as American fashion giant Urban Outfitters. This new action serves as a warning of its constant international vigilance over its copyright.

There are so any rip-off Harley products in the world, Harley retains a group of lawyers who actively search for and prosecute offenders.

Most rip-offs exist online and eBay even has a page devoted to helping customers identify rip-off Harley products.

It advises customers that genuine Harley products carry a product number or official Harley-Davidson tags, product numbers and, if new, come in original Harley-Davidson packaging.

Meanwhile, the most recent trademark-infringement lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Eastern Wisconsin claims Forever 21 used the logo in an “unauthorised way that falsely suggest and are likely to create the mistaken impression that Forever 21 and/ or Forever 21’s products came from Harley or are authorised, approved, and/or licensed by Harley when they are not”.

Harley-Davidson bar-and-shield logo Forever 21 jackets
Forever 21 jackets

While it doesn’t include the words “Harley-Davidson Motorcycles” but “Commander Motor Club”, it’s pretty obvious from its design and colours that it is a replica of the famous bar-and-shield trademark.

The lawsuit not only seeks to stop the international clothing company from using the logo, but also destruction of unauthorised products, paying for corrective advertising, and paying $2 million in statutory damages per mark per type of product, giving Harley any profits from the sale of counterfeit items, and compensatory and punitive damages.

Karen Davidson Harley-Davidson bar-and-shield logo Forever 21 jackets
Karen Davidson

Harley-Davidson creative director and granddaughter of one of the company founders, Karen Davidson, says the logo is integral in their range of fashion and merchandise products.

She says Harley was probably the first motorcycle brand to offer branded bike clothing, starting in 1912 and adding a line of women’s riding jodhpurs in the ’20s.

In 1989, Harley created the Motorclothes division for apparel and accessories.

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