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08-06-2017
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Your Rights Are Under Attack!

Do you own your car? Have you taken a picture of it, posted it to social media or printed it for a photo album? If so, you (and the social media and printing providers) are infringing on the trade dress of the company who manufactured the car, or so they would have you believe…

Currently, SilverHorse Racing is engaged in a Federal lawsuit with Ford Motor Company for among other things, the right to even show a picture of a Mustang (or other car) on our website, on our Facebook page, or anywhere else. Your rights are under attack because if Ford were to prevail in this frivolous suit, eventually they could demand everyone, not just small companies like ours, to seek approval and pay a royalty before showing a picture of their car, or face stiff fines and injunctions.

So what can you do? Well – you don’t have to do anything! The law clearly protects you as a consumer under the First Sale Doctrine, which basically says once a company sells you a product, their trademark (or trade dress) rights end, and yours begin. So yes you can take that picture, you can post it up, you can repaint your car, strip the logos, paint the logos, etc.. and still be 100% within your rights.

If you damage or want to upgrade an emblem on your car, a fuel door, or anything else for that matter, and you want to replace it, you don’t have to replace it with the original! You are allowed, by law, to go to whoever you like and they can produce or offer that product to you just as if you made it yourself, which is also legal.

A trademark is not like a Patent or Copyright, which protects against all copies, it is simply a protection that can be used if someone is trying to pass off their product as those of someone else. Absent that confusion, there can be no infringement, and therefore, you can buy the replacement or upgraded piece from whoever you like, under your rights as the consumer and owner.

Disclaimer – We’re not lawyers but advocates for both small business and consumer rights. Follow us to learn more and how to protect yourself and your hobby from those who would like to control what you can do with your own property for monetary gain.

 

 
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