California-based BMF Wheels could find itself banned from using the BMF brand name by the middle of next month, thanks to a verdict in a trademark infringement case in favor of CFE Racing Products, Inc. CFE manufactures valve covers and replacement engine heads for racecars. BMF Wheels specializes in aftermarket grilles and wheel rims.
The jury found that CFE holds a valid trademark on the BMF logo and name. CFE used the BMF logo and name to market engine parts to nonprofessional drivers beginning in 2004. In 2008, BMF Wheels trademarked its name and used a logo similar to the one CFE used to sell its rims and grilles.
An attorney for CFE said that while his client doesn't market rims, the logos and names are so similar, it is very difficult to believe that the president of BMF came up with it on his own. Because the two are so similar, consumers would have a difficult time distinguishing between the two companies, according to CFE's legal team.
There were no damages awarded by the jury in the trademark dispute, but CFE has filed a motion in federal court asking for an injunction against BMF to cease all use of the name and logo, including on the company's website. BMF's response to that motion is due by July 3.
BMF's attorney said there has not been a decision made yet as to whether or not the company will appeal the jury verdict. He did say that the company is reviewing all of their options and at this time, he does not believe there are any plans to change the company's name.
If your business is suffering because of a battle over intellectual property, contact a California business attorney. You may have grounds for a civil suit and could be entitled to damages for patent infringement or trademark infringement. An attorney will be able to provide you with your options in the case.
Source: crainsdetroit.com, "CFE seeks court order against Calif. Firm over trademark infringement" Chad Halcom, Jun. 23, 2013