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Legal Battle Flares Over Sturgis Name Rights

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…is apparently worth a whole lot of money and a court battle.

A federal judge has denied a request by a Rapid City merchandise vendor to use the word “Sturgis” on products they hoped to sell at this year’s motorcycle rally in the western South Dakota town famous for the enormous gathering of bikers that has become synonymous with its name.

Rushmore Photo and Gifts is battling with Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc., the owners of the trademark for “Sturgis.” SMR Inc says Rushmore Photo is profiting from the rally without its permission.

Rushmore Photo disagrees, saying Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is over stepping its rights, and wanted a U.S. District to allow them permission to sell products with the word “Sturgis” on them at the rally that starts Monday.

The Rapid City Journal reported that following seven hours of testimony, the judge declined Rushmore’s request and said, in effect, that only officially licensed merchandise will be available at the rally.