Miss Worcester Diner in Massachusetts is fighting Harley-Davidson over a mural of the company’s famous bar-and-shield logo painted over their doorway.
(UPDATE: the diner and HD have reached an agreement. Click here to read more.)
Three years ago diner owner Kim Kniskern asked local artist Tony Freitas to paint the logo at the diner in honour of the many customers who rode the iconic American motorcycle.
The bar-and-shield logo is among the world’s most recognised logos and is worth millions to Harley who has a 40-year history of suing small and large companies for unlawfully using their brand.
Last year the company employed its first brand president to protect its trademark and in the late 1990s they even tried to trademark their distinctive “potato-potato” exhaust noise. It failed in US courts.
So when a photo of the mural was recently sent to Harley, they contacted Kim:
While Harley-Davidson truly appreciates your enthusiasm for the brand… we often run into enthusiasts such as yourself who utilise our marks in commercial endeavours, however, by using our trademark on the exterior, public facing portion of your business of your business, you have created the impression that there is an affiliation or other relationship with Harley-Davidson where no such relationship exists.
But Kim and Tony are not backing down.
They have launched an online petition which now has almost 4300 signatures:
What Harley-Davidson fails to understand wholly is that the Miss Worcester Diner, historical landmark and woman owned business in Worcester, is showing support for Harley-Davidson and her customers come from all over to enjoy the heritage that IS the Miss Worcester Diner and their fondness and love for the motorcycle’s, made by Harley-Davidson, also a historical USA company. By signing this petition, you are asking Harley-Davidson Corporation to reconsider the removal request and instead appreciate and support the Miss Worcester Diner, her customers, the community, and the motorcycle community.
She says they have had an “overwhelming response from the community”.
“It has been so crazy,” she says.
Tony says that “if necessary” they will paint over the Harley logo.
“But we aren’t sure we’re in the wrong here,” he says.
“We aren’t denying using their logo but it’s not for profit. She hasn’t made a dime off it.
“And it was a private business transaction done on private property. I deal with copyright laws all day every day and the law actually states … that I can produce any logo and use it and sell it as long as it’s done one at a time by hand and sold privately.
“I do it every day and have been challenged on numerous occasions.
“I’m not mass-producing anything with a press or printer or machine etc.
“As far as it being displayed on the building, that’s a grey area.”