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Pac Bay Wins Appeal Rejecting Fuji Trademark Claims

The United States Patent & Trademark Office has been ordered to cancel Fuji?s trademark registrations covering the leg designs of numerous Fuji line guides.

Sequim, WA, August 24, 2006 - Pacific Bay International, Inc., worldwide supplier of quality fishing rod components to manufacturers, distributors, and custom sport fishing rod builders, is pleased to announce the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed unanimously the trial court?s decision canceling three of Fuji?s registered trademarks, and rejecting another claimed trademark, finding these designs to be functional, and unprotectable as trademarks.

The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Fuji?s claims against Pacific Bay, which alleged trademark infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition. As a result of the Courts? rulings, the United States Patent & Trademark Office is ordered to cancel trademark registrations covering the leg designs of numerous line guides.

The Sixth Circuit concluded the patents were strong evidence of functionality and affirmed the District Court?s ruling that Fuji?s trademarks were already included in its previously patented designs.

The core issue of this lawsuit involved common line guide leg and frame designs used among major guide manufacturers throughout the world over the past two decades. Trial testimony covered comparisons of curved vs. straight leg design dynamics, durability, manufacturing process, costs, as well as Fuji?s admissions of functionality in several expired utility patents covering the same leg designs.

For over 4 years Pacific Bay has provided extensive evidence in court demonstrating the fact that particular fishing rod guide designs have been in use by the industry at large for decades, that specific designs commonly used in the manufacturing of fishing rod guides are not unique, and that a manufacturer can not trademark an expired patent on material that is now in the public domain.

Through Pacific Bay?s extensive investment in this legal battle, a message is being sent to the industry stating it is improper and unfair to use the trademark process as a replacement for an expired patent of a product design and manufacturing process. This ruling is a victory for all rod builders from hobbyist, to custom rod builders, to major rod manufacturers.