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Poison Spider bike shop sues off-road vehicle parts vendor over trademarked souvenirs

Published May 2, 2016

MOAB, Utah (BRAIN) — Poison Spider Bicycles, a longtime Moab retailer with a national following, is suing Tap Manufacturing, which markets various clothes and collectibles under the Poison Spyder Customs brand.

The bike shop alleges that Tap Manufacturing is violating its trademark, creating confusion in the marketplace and costing it sales, among other charges.

The shop filed the suit in February in U.S. District Court for Utah. On Monday a judge agreed to extend a deadline to May 30 for Tap to enter a response to the complaint. The original deadline was last Friday, but both sides agreed that more time would "facilitate further settlement discussions."

The Los Angeles-based attorneys for Tap Manufacturing did not respond to a request for comment from BRAIN on Monday. The bike shop's owner, Scott Newton, also was not immediately available to comment.

Poison Spider Bicycles, founded in 1992, is named for Poison Spider Mesa, a Moab landmark for mountain bikers as well as Jeep and ATV drivers. It registered its trademark in 1997; the destination shop does considerable business selling products emblazoned with its logo — everything from shot glasses to thongs to cycling clothes. According to the complaint, it sells about 25,000 trademarked products annually. 

Poison Spyder Customs, based in California, has been in business since 2003. It sells off-road vehicle parts and hats, bags, key fobs, T-shirts and other items with its name and spider logo. 

According to the bike shop's complaint, Poison Spyder and Tap Manufacturing has tried twice in recent years to trademark the Poison Spyder name, but, according to the complaint, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the applications because of possible confusion with Poison Spider Bicycles' trademark.

The bike shop is suing Tap Manufacturing, Poison Spyder Customs founder Robert McRae and unnamed distributors of the Poison Spyder products. It's asking for a jury trial and seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against continued use of marks that could be confused with Poison Spider Bicycles.

"At the heart of the infringement is a false representation that consumers can purchase a Poison Spider Bicycles Inc. trademarked item" from Poison Spyder, the complaint states. The complaint says the bike shop owners believe Poison Spyder Customs has sold millions of dollars' worth of the infringing products.

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