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Chrysler sues Detroit-based company over use of new slogan

During a record-setting two minute Super Bowl commercial featuring Detroit native Marshall Mathers (known better to most at Eminem) rolling through the Motor City in a 2011 Chrysler 200, Chrysler unveiled their new company slogan “Imported From Detroit” - and due to the usage of that new slogan Chrysler Group is suing Detroit-based retailer Pure Detroit.

While the Pure Detroit website and three area stores are likely benefitting greatly from all of this publicity, the Chrysler Group is suing their parent company Moda Group LLC, along with company co-owners Kevin Borsay and Shawn Santo. Among Pure Detroit’s more popular items are various shirts that “rep the D” and when the Imported From Detroit slogan surfaced, Pure Detroit was quick to offer their own version of a shirt sporting the slogan. The problem is that they did so without consent from Chrysler and when the automaker contacted the company about not using the new slogan, Pure Detroit claimed that Chrysler could not secure the rights to that phrase, and they went on selling their rip-off Imported From Detroit shirts. Imagine that – someone in Detroit selling stolen goods!

According to Chrysler, they have requested several times beginning around February 14th that Pure Detroit stops selling the shirts bearing the new company slogan, but the company has not honored that request. Because of that the Chrysler Group has filed a lawsuit, requesting an injunction against Pure Detroit along with damages in excess of $75,000 for “trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices, unjust enrichment and unfair competition”.

Chrysler included these comments in their filing against Pure Detroit’s parent company and its owners:
“Chrysler has repeatedly attempted to resolve this matter without involving the court. It has repeatedly asked (Pure Detroit) to stop and has sought to have a portion of defendants’ ill-gotten gains contributed to charity. Defendants, however, have refused to stop, have persisted in their intentional infringement and have left Chrysler no choice but to bring this lawsuit to prevent (the retailer) from deceiving and confusing the public and harming Chrysler’s good will.”

Pure Detroit has removed the shirts with the Chrysler brand slogan from their website but they continue selling the knock-off Chrysler shirts in their three local storefronts. A lawyer representing Pure Detroit has claimed that Chrysler has no rights to the slogan and that the company will stand up to Chrysler in court but regardless of the outcome, the chain of Detroit-based retailers stands to benefit a great deal from all of the publicity that they are getting. In the long run, “borrowing” Chrysler’s new slogan seems like a stupid move but if living in Detroit has taught me anything, it is that some of the greatest gains can be ill-gotten.

Those who are interested in supporting the Chrysler Group by rocking their official (and much better looking) Imported from Detroit apparel can check out the full lineup by clicking here.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business

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