detroit.jpgLos Angeles – In a trademark infringement dispute filed by Chrysler, a judge ruled Tuesday against the auto-maker’s request to bar local retailer, Pure Detroit, from selling T-shirts with the slogan, “Imported From Detroit.”  Records indicate that Chrysler applied for the “Imported From Detroit” trademark in late 2010.

Chrysler first introduced the slogan on February 6, 2011, in a Super Bowl television commercial featuring rapper Eminem and the new Chrysler 200.  The buzz that the ad created gave both Chrysler and the Motor City a much needed boost, amidst tough economic times.  Fans of the two-minute commercial which featured famous Detroit landmarks, thought that it painted the city as a survivor in the reality of its harsh economic adversity.  The Chrysler 200 became the auto-maker’s best-selling car last month and the ad won five awards, including four 1st place Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions 58th International Festival of Creativity in France. 

According to U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow, Chrysler failed to prove that it will suffer irreparable harm if Pure Detroit continues to use the slogan on its T-shirts and merchandise.  Judge Tarnow also ruled that a likelihood of confusion did not exist and that consumers would not believe the merchandise sold by Pure Detroit was affiliated in any way with Chrysler. 

Pure Detroit countersued Chrysler and has attempted to block its trademark applications by claiming that the phrase is descriptive and geographically mis-descriptive because Chrysler is not in Detroit.  Chrysler has headquarters in Auburn Hills and the car at issue is assembled in Sterling Heights.

Although Chrysler will continue to pursue the lawsuit against Pure Detroit, the judge’s decision to allow the retailer to resume sales of merchandise with “Imported From Detroit”, is undoubtedly a major set-back for the car company.  A statement from Chrysler spokesman Michael Palese stated: “Chrysler Group is disappointed with this opinion and will continue to pursue all avenues to protect our ‘Imported From Detroit’ trademark.”

Palese went on to suggest that Chrysler may try again to settle out of court with Pure Detroit, even though previous settlement offers were rejected by the retailer.