Legal and Law

1-800-SKI VAIL Wins Trademark Lawsuit Against Vail Associates

Author: Eric Hanson / SKIusa, LLC
Dateline: Wed, 12 Jan 2005

freeNewsArticles Story Summary: “DENVER, CO /Send2Press Newswire/ -- On January 3, 2005, Vend-Tel-Co, Ltd., a small business from Fort Collins, Colorado won a federal trademark lawsuit against skiing giant Vail Associates, Inc. over the right to use 1-800-SKI VAIL. In the lawsuit, Judge Matsch of the U.S. District Court determined that Vail Associates could not use its registered trademark VAIL to prevent Eric Hanson from using his registered trademark, 1-800-SKI VAIL. The small business makes well-priced condo, hotel, and resort reservations at a variety of ski area locations through dozens of 1-800-SKI phone numbers.”



A R T I C L E:

'Small Business Takes on Conglomerate in Modern-Day David vs. Goliath Case'

DENVER, CO /Send2Press Newswire/ -- On January 3, 2005, Vend-Tel-Co, Ltd., a small business from Fort Collins, Colorado won a federal trademark lawsuit against skiing giant Vail Associates, Inc. over the right to use 1-800-SKI VAIL. In the lawsuit, Judge Matsch of the U.S. District Court determined that Vail Associates could not use its registered trademark VAIL to prevent Eric Hanson from using his registered trademark, 1-800-SKI VAIL. The small business makes well-priced condo, hotel, and resort reservations at a variety of ski area locations through dozens of 1-800-SKI phone numbers ranging from 1-800-SKI ASPEN to 1-800-SKI TELLURIDE.

Vail Associates first became aware of the business in 1995, but it was not until 2001 -- when the 1-800-SKI VAIL trademark became registered -- that Vail Associates felt threatened by the business and filed suit to try to stop the 1-800-SKI VAIL telephone number. In the lawsuit, Vail Associates claimed the use of 1-800-SKI VAIL constituted trademark infringement, unfair competition, and a deceptive trade practice. It also requested that the 1-800-SKI VAIL trademark registration be canceled. In the Judgment filed January 3, Judge Matsch sided with the owners of 1-800-SKI VAIL on all counts. Noting that Vail Pass predated the Vail ski area, the Federal Court rejected each of Vail Associates' claims and awarded the Defendant their costs.

Commenting on testimony by one of Vail Associates' witnesses, the Court found that contrary to what Vail Associates was trying to prove, their own witness showed that "most people can't identify a specific company with the purchase of their ski vacations products. They are familiar with places to ski as a place, not a company." Commenting on Vail Associates' position that any association between skiing and Vail should be prohibited, the Court stated: "This claims too much." It found that there was neither actual confusion nor a likelihood of confusion by 1-800-SKI VAIL. The Court rejected the claims against 1-800-SKI VAIL because if granted, they would create a monopolistic empire requiring anyone who offers any type of recreational service to seek a license from Vail Associates.

The Court noted that this would go "far beyond the purpose of trademark law" and was "contrary to the public policy of promoting economic competition." The Court also noted that Hanson's use of 1-800-SKI VAIL was not unfair competition and was not a deceptive trade practice. Further, it refused to cancel Mr. Hanson's 1-800-SKI VAIL trademark registration and it still stands as the valid U.S. Patent and Trademark Registration No. 2,458,894.

Of the victory, Mr. Hanson stated: "This shows economic competition is alive and well in America. Now consumers can get the best deal. Our business - where one call can do it all - shows that the American Dream still exists. It takes real resolve to fight this type of battle on moral principle, but now we can get down to business and give the consumer what they deserve, the best value in accommodations by calling 1-800 SKI VAIL or any one of our many other 1-800-SKI numbers."

Vend-Tel-Co and Mr. Hanson were represented by the trademark and patent firm of Santangelo Law Offices, P.C. (Luke Santangelo and Kay Collins) and the trial firm of Thomas R. French (Thomas French), both in Fort Collins, Colorado. Vail Associates was represented in the matter by the Denver branch of the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, LLP.


Note to Editors: The lawsuit is captioned: "Vail Resorts, Inc., Vail Associates, Inc., and Vail trademarks, Inc. v. Vend-Tel-Co and Eric A. Hanson." It is Case No. 01-M-1172 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, assigned to Judge Richard P. Matsch. The case was filed by Vail Associates June 25, 2001. Trial was held December 6 through 8, 2004, and Judgment dismissing all of Vail Associates' claims and awarding Vend-Tel-Co and Mr. Hanson all costs was filed January 3, 2005.



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Copyright © 2005 by Eric Hanson / SKIusa, LLC and Send2Press® Newswire, a service of Neotrope® - all rights reserved. Information believed accurate but not guaranteed. Sourced on: freeNewsArticles.com.

Story Title: 1-800-SKI VAIL Wins Trademark Lawsuit Against Vail Associates
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Legal and Law

Dallas Judge Agrees with Lance Armstrong in Legal Case announced by Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P.

Author: Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P.
Dateline: Mon, 10 Jan 2005

freeNewsArticles Story Summary: “AUSTIN, TX /Send2Press Newswire/ -- Austin resident and six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong insists he has always played by the rules. Last week, a Dallas district court judge ordered that a sport promotion company involved in a legal case with Armstrong do the same.”



A R T I C L E:

AUSTIN, TX /Send2Press Newswire/ -- Austin resident and six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong insists he has always played by the rules. Last week, a Dallas district court judge ordered that a sport promotion company involved in a legal case with Armstrong do the same.

Judge Adolph Canales disqualified French lawyer Thibault de Montbrial, an arbitrator appointed by SCA Promotions in a case brought against SCA by Armstrong and his team owner, Tailwind Sports. In 2004, SCA refused to pay $5 million of a $10 million performance award Armstrong earned by winning six consecutive Tours de France. SCA cited rumors of performance enhancement by Armstrong, despite exhaustive testing at the 2004 Tour and prompt payment of the remaining $5 million of the performance award by two other insurers.

SCA insured $3 million and $1.5 million Armstrong performance awards in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and honored its obligation in both years.

Judge Canales agreed with Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman that arbitrator Montbrial had a clear and ongoing conflict of interest in the case and that his appointment violated the provisions of American Arbitration Association rules which require that all arbitrators be "impartial and independent." Montbrial represents an author and publisher who are both defendants in a libel and slander suit brought by Armstrong in France. Armstrong and Tailwind had asked Judge Canales to disqualify Montbrial.

Attorney Herman argued that SCA's appointment of Montbrial "clearly demonstrated its bad faith in refusing to pay what it owes and made a mockery of the arbitration process." The order striking Montbrial agreed, finding that the evidence revealed "clear, present and ongoing conflict of interest" and that the appointment would "unduly prolong and hinder the efficient conduct of the arbitration proceeding." SCA was given until February 1 to appoint a new arbitrator.

When SCA refused to pay its share of Armstrong's 2004 performance award, Armstrong invoked the contract's arbitration clause in early September. He confirmed that he had "furnished the Tour de France testing protocols and proof of compliance to SCA on August 16, 2004, and again in September shortly after SCA requested test results." The arbitration process was originally to be conducted by 3 arbitrators, one selected by each party and the third selected by both parties together or by the court. Armstrong had appointed Ted Lyon, a former Senator and highly-regarded Dallas lawyer with whom neither he nor his attorneys had any relationship. SCA then appointed Montbrial.

Tailwind purchased the insurance contract with SCA for $420,000 before the 2001 Tour de France, after Armstrong had already won the Tour twice consecutively. To earn the $5 million award under the contract in question, Armstrong had to win another four consecutive Tours, a feat which had never been accomplished.

Until now.


More information: www.hermanhowry.com

Contact: Tim Herman. of Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P., (512) 474-9483, or therman@hermanhowry.com.

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Copyright © 2005 by Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P. and Send2Press® Newswire, a service of Neotrope® - all rights reserved. Information believed accurate but not guaranteed. Sourced on: freeNewsArticles.com.

Story Title: Dallas Judge Agrees with Lance Armstrong in Legal Case announced by Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P.
• REFERENCE KEYWORDS/TERMS: , , , , Legal and Law, , , .

IMPORTANT NOTICE: some content which is considered "old" or "archival" may reference an event which has already occurred; some content possibly considered "advertorial" may also reference a promotion or time-limited/sensitive offering, and in all of these instances certain material may no longer be valid. For notably stale content, you should directly contact the company/person mentioned in the text (Herman Howry & Breen L.L.P.); this site cannot assist you with information about products/services mentioned in the news article, nor handle any complaints or other issues related to any person/company mentioned or promoted in the above text. Information believed accurate but not guaranteed as of original date of story [Mon, 10 Jan 2005 19:16:00 GMT].

USE THIS CONTENT FOR FREE: To use this content in your newspaper, broadcast outlet, news portal, blog/ezine or similar, free of cost, CLICK HERE to learn how.