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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Chinese Tire Makers Unlucky in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A federal judge granted the Toyo Tire and Rubber Co.'s request for a preliminary injunction against Chinese companies it says are infringing on its trademarks.

In a complaint filed on November 4, 2014, Toyo accused Beijing's Toyomoto International Trading Co. and its subsidiaries of planning to advertise and sell patent infringing products at the Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

SEMA, the world's largest tradeshow for aftermarket automotive products, was held Nov. 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey granted the motion in part on November 6, finding the plaintiff's papers demonstrated a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of its claim for trademark infringement claims.

Dorsey's relief at that time included issuing a restraining order preventing Toyomoto from "using any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation" of Toyo marks anywhere in the United States.

She also directed U.S. Marshalls to seize of specific items from Toyomoto's booth, including banners, display and promotional items, and any products the bear infringing marks.

On Wednesday, Judge Dorsey granted Toyo's request for injunctive relief after representatives of the defendant firms failed to show up for a hearing.

Judge Dorsey's order forbids Toyomoto from using infringing Toyo marks in products, promotions and other business.

Dorsey also ordered Toyo's legal counsel to "maintain in a secure environment" the items seized from Toyomoto during the SEMA Show.

Toyo distributes its tires through a network of 2,000 independent tire dealerships. It says it owns a dozen registered U.S. trademarks and sells more than 4.7 million tires per year in the United States. The company also sponsors sporting events, NASCAR racers and athletes, and spends millions of dollars on marketing and branding its marks.

In its court filings Toyo charges the defendants, which include Kabusikiki Kaisha Tokyo Nihoon Rubber, claim to have a presence is either the United States or Japan that ephemeral at best.

Toyo claims the Chinese companies began using its marks on their tires in 2010, and soon spread their infringing activities to website domain names and social media site.

Toyo is represented by Michael McCue of Lewis, Roca and Rothgerber in Las Vegas.

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