SW Legal Educational Publishing

Harley Is Not the Only Hog
Description Appeals court held that Harley-Davidson had improperly appropriated the word hog, in reference to large motorcycles. Hog had been in common public use before Harley claimed the term, so it remains generic.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Trademark, Infringement, Generic
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Grottanelli has run a motorcycle repair shop called "The Hog Farm" since 1969. Since the 1980s, Harley-Davidson has taken steps to use and control the word Hog, including registering it as a trademark in 1987, contending it means Harley Owners' Group, among other things, and that Harley has control of the word as it is used in reference to the motorcycle business. District court held that Grottanelli had to cease using the word as an infringement of Harley's trademark.
Decision Reversed. "Even the presumption of validity arising from federal registration cannot protect a mark that is shown on strong evidence to be generic as to the relevant category of products prior to the proprietor's trademark use and registration." Harley did not use the term in reference to its products before the 1980s, but the term was in public use before then in reference to large motorcycles, so Grottanelli and other parties may use the term hog.
Citation Harley-Davidson, Inc. v. Grottanelli, --F.3d-- (1999 WL 13271, 2nd Cir.)
164 F.3d 806 (2d Cir., 1999)

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