UPDATE: Gearhead Shirts has now become Gearheart, after the article.
Today one of the three car-shirt companies I like, Gearhead Shirts, was blasted with a copyright-infringement charge on their Facebook page, so Facebook dropped their page with no questions asked. The cause of all this? The record company Gearhead Records says they have the rights to the term. However, the term “gearhead” isn’t really anybodies word to own.
Regardless, these two very different companies with different demographics and products are suddenly in a power struggle for something so petty as a word. According to the notice from the lawyers at Gearhead Records.
“…Thank you for reaching out for clarification. Your company uses the term “Gearhead Shirts” My company, Gearhead Productions, Inc, holds the registered trademark under Class 9 (all types of sound recordings and other media featuring music), Class 16 (various types of printed matter) and Class 25 (clothing) for the GEARHEAD mark.
This means no one can use GEARHEAD in connection with anything clothing, printed matter or music related without infringing on my company’s registered trademark. In order to avoid legal action, you will need to amend your company information to no longer include the term GEARHEAD anywhere in your business dealings or description. Your company may not manufacture, sell or display merchandise in the above categories, or in any related categories in order to be in compliance.
Note that Gearhead Magazine functions as a legally licensed entity that retains permission to use my company’s trademark for clothing and printed matter. At this time they are the only legally licensed entity to do so. Your company is currently infringing on the rights we have granted under that license.”
The thing is, looking at their actual licenses, they don’t have anything about apparel mentioned. Only records, CD’s, DVD’s, and the like.
Nothing of shirts or even stickers (alright, fine… I didn’t see it originally). The tactics of infringement, so far, seem up for criticism. Why only this one “Gearheads” page while many others get to stay on Facebook? Why was it not brought to the attention of Gearhead Shirts before the Facebook page was shutdown? Why wasn’t the Gearheads Store contested when that’s indeed the actual money-maker of the business (which is what trademarks are all about– money)?
Ask yourself: does this seem like the record company is actually threatened by the car-shirt company? They have absolutely nothing in common, from logo to products.
What do you think?
If you are on the side of Gearhead Shirts, show your support and send some Facebook love their way, and forward this to anyone else you know.
Some of the products I’ve bought from Gearhead Shirts:
“Save the Stick: stickers…
OIO (Outside Inside Outside) racing line shirt…
PetroSexual, though sans “suck-squish-bang-blow” and tilted con-rod/piston… I have the Petrosexual classic.