Wheeling Nailers, ECHL win judgment for misuse of logo - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley, ECHL win judgment for misuse of Wheeling Nailers logo

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The Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley and the ECHL have won a default judgment from a Kentucky marketing group that used the Wheeling Nailers name and logo to sell advertising spots.

U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. ordered Elsmore, Ky.-based Eagle Marketing Group, LLC, to pay more than $33,000 in damages for willfully infringing on the Nailers trademark.

"What the case boiled down to is an entity … going around usurping the goodwill of small business owners towards local colleges and hometown teams," HCOV attorney Gerald E. Lofstead III of Cipriani & Werner PC, Wheeling, said. "Based on my research, this has gone on (in other cities) where the ECHL has teams to the point where they're well known to ECHL, but until now, no one pulled the trigger," by filing suit.

HCOV, owned by the non-profit Regional Economic Development Partnership, operates the Nailers. Lofstead said the organization "watches revenue very closely ... and it's really important to (them), to the organization, to stop this and try to teach Eagle Marketing something of a lesson with regard to business practices."

The complaint alleges Eagle solicited local businesses to purchase advertising on calendars with the Nailers game schedule, suggesting to the various advertisers that they were working with HCOV to support the team. The team did not receive any of the profits from the sale of the calendar or advertising spots, they said.

"Those businesses that purchased advertising on the defendant's calendar were misled to believe that they were supporting the local ownership of the Wheeling Nailers Hockey Club," they said in the suit.

Eagle Marketing did not respond to the complaint Lofstead said the firm "had plenty of opportunity, they were provided notice of everything. They chose not to appear."

Because the infringement was deemed intentional, Stamp tripled the actual $9,300 the team lost in advertising revenue plus attorney fees.