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Trek Sues CA Winery for Use of Name

Published October 6, 2009

MADISON, WI (BRAIN)—Trek Bicycle Corporation has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a Northern California winery claiming it wrongly uses the Trek name to market its brand of wine.

According to the civil suit filed Oct.1 in Wisconsin’s Western District Court, Andrew Podshadley, owner of Novato, California-based Trek Winery uses the Trek Winery and Trek Wine names, which are confusingly similar to Trek’s family of more than two-dozen trademarks.

In the lawsuit, Trek says that Podshadley uses the marks in the production of private label wine products that may be offered to other wineries and wine distributors that could be visited during Trek Travel’s vacations.

Trek Travel, a division of Trek Bicycles, offers cycling vacations that feature wine tours and tastings near the Trek Winery.

Also, Trek’s sports and energy drinks, which the company has sold since 2003, and Trek Winery’s products are targeted to the same type of consumer and may be offered in the same retail outlets, causing consumers to assume that the products are affiliated with or endorsed by Trek Bicycles.

Trek Winery has also registered the domain name www.trekwines.com to advertise its products and services, which violates Trek’s trademarks, the lawsuit claims.

Podshadley filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the name Trek Winery in July, 2007. Trek objected to the use of the name, and for the past several months the two entities have been involved in discussions to resolve the dispute, but have not come to an agreement.

Trek is suing for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution and unfair competition. It’s asking for a preliminary injunction restraining Podshadley and Trek Winery from using the Trek Winery or Trek Wine name, or registering or applying to register the names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trek is also asking for a judgement requiring Podshadley to transfer ownership of the www.trekwines.com domain name to Trek Bicycle Corporation, and to pay to Trek all gains and profits realized from the sale of goods and services bearing the Trek name.

Trek Winery has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, but a summons was issued to the business and Podshadley on Oct. 1 that requires an answer be submitted to the court within 20 days.

—Nicole Formosa

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