Judge puts brakes on Hummer wannabe | nnbw.com
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Judge puts brakes on Hummer wannabe

Anne Knowles

Looks like Goliath has slain

David – at least for now.

U.S. District Court Judge David

Warren Hagan late last month ruled

that the Let’s Make a Deal car dealership

in Reno no longer can sell or

advertise its Hummer look-alike kit

car until the lawsuit brought against

it by General Motors Corp. has been

settled.

GM, maker of the commercial

version of the Humvee military utility

vehicle called the Hummer H2,

recently sued the Reno car dealer for

trademark infringement (see Northern

Nevada Business Weekly, August 26,

page 3). Let’s Make a Deal had been

advertising and selling a so-called kit

car that provides a Hummer-like

exterior that can be installed on

another car frame to reproduce the

pricey SUV for a lot less money.

The preliminary injunction preventing

Let’s Make a Deal from continuing

to sell its kit car was the first

step in what could become a lengthy

and expensive suit for the car dealer.

“I have to decide whether I want

to pit myself against GM,” said

Richard Castellanos, owner of the

used-car lot. “My attorney has said it

will cost about $80,000 to pursue the

case. No doubt [GM] has a large

fund and will see it to the end.”

Not if automaker and Let’s Make

a Deal can settle the case first.

Castellanos said he is amenable to

being bought out by GM.

So far, he has assembled one

Hummer on the body of a 1998 Ford

Ranger and has two unassembled

bodies in stock. In addition, he has

advertised the kit car and made several

trips to the Philippines where

the kit car is manufactured.

Castellanos declined to say how

much all that has cost.

For its part, GM would consider

settling the case, too, if Castellanos

gets out of the Hummer kit car business.

“We are willing to talk to

them,” said Gregory D. Phillips, a

partner with Howard, Phillips &

Anderson, a law firm in Salt Lake

City that is representing GM.

“Basically we want them to stop not

on a preliminary basis but on a permanent

basis and to tell us where

they get the kits.”

Castellanos’ attorney responded to

the preliminary injunction. The next

step is for GM to provide documentation

proving trademark infringement

– unless the two parties can

settle the case first.