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Nov 16, 2005

Patriot Motorcycles Corporation Working To Settle Yamaha Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

Patriot Motorcycles Corporation is currently working toward settling the multi-count trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit filed against it by Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. and its parent company Yamaha motor Co., Ltd. filed a lawsuit October 15 in a Los Angeles, California Federal Court charging Yamoto Motor Corporation (importer of Chinese-made motorcycles and ATVs), Patriot Motorcycles Corporation (the U.S. distributor of Yamoto-branded motorcycles and ATVs) and Family Motor Sports, Inc. (a dealer selling Yamoto-branded motorcycles and ATVs) with trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, false advertising, copyright infringement and unfair competition.

Essentially, Yamaha has charged Yamoto, Patriot and Family Motor Sports with intentionally trying to confuse the United States buying public (and take advantage of Yamaha's reputation in the market) by importing and selling Chinese-made "knock-offs" of Yamaha products, adopting a similar Japanese name, Yamoto, and decorating the Yamoto-branded products with similar graphics as Yamaha products.

Roadracingworld.com made several attempts to contact Yamoto, Patriot and Family Motor Sports and the attorneys of record for all three parties. Only Gary A. Dapelo, General Counsel for Patriot Motorcycles Corporation, returned Roadracingworld.com's telephone calls.

"It appears as though there has been, obviously, a misunderstanding. The parties are right now engaged in settlement conferences," Dapelo told Roadracingworld.com Wednesday. Dapelo added that the settlement negotiations began "almost immediately after the complaint was filed.

"There were no discussions that preceded the lawsuit. The first that anybody was aware there was even a possibility of a problem was when Yamaha served the lawsuit. It completely came out of left field.

"Our clients were trying to do everything they could, while continuing to try to operate their business, to avoid any appearance of confusion in the industry, and they were making changes on a consistent, almost daily basis to certain things relative to Yamoto. And the lawsuit, like I say, came out of left field. There was no prior warning, no discussion.

"Obviously, once the lawsuit was filed and served, our clients immediately responded by seeking to work out an acceptable and reasonable solution. Yamaha has been very cooperative. Their counsel has been cooperative. All the parties are meeting together this week to continue to engage in that process. Representatives from Japan have arrived, and we're working our way through it."

When asked if he found it strange that attempts to call Yamoto Motor Corporation at the number listed on the company's website during normal business hours on a normal business day resulted in the phone just ringing without answer, Dapelo said, "I can't speak on behalf of Yamoto. All I can tell you is we have the same concerns."