07NR1 - MSF vs Oregon

Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)


Contact: Jay Jackson, MRF Director of Motorcycle Safety


January 4, 2007
#07NR1 - MSF vs Oregon

Motorcycle Safety Foundation vs. Oregon

On December 15, 2006 the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) announced that they had filed a lawsuit against Oregon State University (OSU) and Steve Garets, Director of the Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program (TOMS) of OSU. The MSF is claiming copyright infringement and violation of their rights under the Lanham Act.

This action was not completely unexpected as the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has paid close attention to this issue for several years. The very afternoon of the announcement MRF Director of Motorcycle Safety, Jay Jackson, spoke with Steve Garets of Team Oregon as well as MSF President Tim Buche. Communication from the MRF was quickly established not only with Team Oregon and the MSF, but BikePAC Oregon, the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA), several state program coordinators and numerous motorcycle safety instructors as well.

Most of the motorcycling community, especially those close to rider education, recognize that this situation carries potentially severe ramifications. At the least, it is a distraction that draws resources and focus from the primary function of rider education professionals, which is to provide life-saving training. At the worst, it is a divisive issue that may compromise the credibility, consistency, integrity and ultimately the future of rider education.

Ron Shepard, Coordinator of the Idaho STAR program, suspects the MSF’s intent is not necessarily to win the lawsuit, but rather to seek an injunction that would halt all current activity. In doing so, states that are required to offer training may be forced to use an MSF product if their current program is suspended.

Ken Kiphart, SMSA Chairman, surmises that this may be more of a case for the courts and feels it is likely that the SMSA will not be actively involved at this time. In as much as the SMSA’s purpose is to support state programs, it remains possible that this position may change.

Steve Garets stands by the TOMS curriculum and encourages other programs to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of their rider training efforts at treating skills and strategies necessary for safe street riding.

A number of different opinions have been shared with the MRF from instructors, state program coordinators and others. It appears that the MRF has friends, and constituents, on both sides of the argument.

The MRF exists to support the state motorcyclists’ rights organizations (SMRO). As with any issue of interest to motorcyclists, the MRF will continue to monitor and evaluate this situation and will attempt to provide all resources appropriate when, and if, specifically requested by an SMRO in need of assistance.

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists\' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists\'
rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists\' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders\' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists\' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

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