TEAM OREGON wins settlement in Motorcycle Safety Foundation lawsuit

TEAM OREGON wins settlement in Motorcycle Safety Foundation lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TEAM OREGON wins settlement in Motorcycle Safety Foundation lawsuit

Corvallis, Oregon, Jan. 6, 2008 – The TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program is pleased to announce that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has agreed to drop their copyright infringement lawsuit against Dr. Edward Ray, on behalf of Oregon State University, and Steve Garets, Director of TEAM OREGON. The Settlement Agreement was finalized on December 19, 2008. The MSF agreed to abandon its lawsuit without any payment whatsoever from TEAM OREGON and “With Prejudice,” meaning that the MSF cannot file such a lawsuit against TEAM OREGON ever again.

“The MSF was unable to present any proof that TEAM OREGON had, in fact, violated their copyrights,” said Steve Garets, Director of the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program. “We consulted with numerous copyright experts before and after these curricula were published. We felt confident all along that there never were any copyright infringements. We are glad to put this behind us and move forward in providing high quality training for Oregon’s riders.”

The MSF, a California-based corporation owned by the major motorcycle manufacturers including Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, sells their training materials nationally. The MSF initially filed their suit in 2006 after TEAM OREGON refused to subscribe to the latest MSF curriculum and instead developed an Oregon-specific motorcycle training program of its own. MSF pressed the suit forward after the Oregon Department of Transportation denied their request to approve the MSF curriculum for a waiver of motorcycle license testing.

”TEAM OREGON built on over 40 years of experience and research to develop our own original curricula,” said Garets.  “There are some ideas in motorcycle safety that nobody can claim as their own intellectual property.  Many of those concepts existed long before the MSF was founded and have been in widespread use ever since.”

In the Settlement Agreement, the MSF recognizes that TEAM OREGON has valid claims of copyright in TEAM OREGON curriculum materials. As a condition of the settlement MSF insisted that TEAM OREGON accept a free license to incorporate MSF’s copyrighted materials in TEAM OREGON’s publications.  As in the past, however, TEAM OREGON will not incorporate any MSF copyrighted materials in any of the TEAM OREGON curricula. “We didn’t want or need this license but they insisted that we take it and they gave it to us for free,” Garets said. “We have no desire to include MSF-owned material in our publications and we’ll continue to preserve the integrity of our curricula.”

“TEAM OREGON never marketed this program outside of Oregon, although a number of state motorcycle safety programs expressed interest,” he remarked.  “We will continue to do exactly what we have been doing in providing the best possible motorcycle safety training for Oregon.”

“This case was a test to learn who, if anyone, really owns motorcycle rider instruction,” said Garets. “We have an obligation to provide training that fits the unique needs of Oregon’s riders. It is now clear that we have every right to design and deliver that training”

“I am very satisfied with this outcome and would like to thank the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon State University for defending this suit so ably and tenaciously,” Garets added. “In protecting our freedom to design high-quality motorcycle training programs they’ve done a great service to the citizens of Oregon and to the entire country.”

The TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program is sponsored by Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Transportation.  TEAM OREGON’s goal is to foster and promote safe motorcycle operation through quality rider education programs and public information campaigns.  TEAM OREGON is funded by a fee on motorcycle license endorsements.

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3 Comments on “TEAM OREGON wins settlement in Motorcycle Safety Foundation lawsuit”

  1. A. Tam Says:

    What’s up with the date on this release?

    Also, lets post the MSF’s press release regarding this matter. Makes for interesting reading when one compares the verbiage between the two.

    Truth is a three edged sword?

  2. wmoon Says:

    I posted it within a few minutes of receiving it–I’ll find out why it was sent out so much later than the MSF one was posted. However, my guess is that MSF waited until the last second before the holidays to have the extra time for their version to circulate. Of course, no one’s really around reading anyhow so there wasn’t much circulating. Also MSF sent out their press release on the anniversary of it filing the lawsuit. Was Tim being sentimental? How cute.

    And you’re right–it would be interesting to post them side by side. I’ll try to do something with that. But I will not post MSF’s all by itself as there’s not only one but two sites that they can do that on and it’s been posted verbatim on other sites.

  3. Jeff Brenton Says:

    Quoting: “This case was a test to learn who, if anyone, really owns motorcycle rider instruction,” said Garets. “We have an obligation to provide training that fits the unique needs of Oregon’s riders. It is now clear that we have every right to design and deliver that training”

    The sad thing is, there still is no legal resolution to this question. A settlement of the suit does nothing but form a sort of contract between MSF and TOMS, and leaves the questions, as they apply to others, unresolved.

    Of course, with the goofy crap that goes on in the courts nowadays, this is probably just as well… Even though it leaves the door open for MSF to try the same thing against any other state or individual that develops a course intended to teach novices how to ride motorcycles.


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