Harley-Davidson logo rights at issue in copyright infringement case

Publish Date: 
Aug 3, 2012

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - A freelance artist seeking damages for alleged copyright infringement by Harley-Davidson has received a judge’s go-ahead to pursue his case.

Wayne Wm. Peterson, who reportedly helped create several Harley-Davidson logos between 1970 and 2000, claims that his "Live to Ride" logo, created in 1985, and the "Harley-Davidson University" logo, created in 1991, were part of a "one time, one run" agreement that prevented the Motor Co. from using the images afer the limited initial production.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman denied Harley-Davidson's motion for dismissal, and ruled that the statute of limitations does not apply to the case, according to Courthouse News Service.

According to Peterson’s complaint, "Harley has, without authorization, continued to use these works on hundreds, if not thousands, of runs of products, packaging material and marketing material since they were created," and seeks damages for copyright infringement.

Harley-Davidson attorneys sought to dismiss the suit, claiming that "all claims based on alleged acts of infringement that occurred before April 25, 2009, are barred by the three-year statute of limitations under the Copyright Act."

However, Adelman found that based on the complaint alone, he could not determine whether Peterson’s delay in filing the case was unreasonable.

Peterson "contends that under the 'continuing wrong' or 'continuing violation' doctrine, he is entitled to recover damages for the entire course of conduct and is not limited to damages for acts that occurred within the last three years."

Posted by Holly Wagner