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Judge Rules in TWHBEA VS. NWHA Lawsuit

NWHA TRACKING REGISTRY PREVAILS

The United States District Court in Nashville issued its opinion in the long-standing lawsuit between the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitor’s Association (TWHBEA) and the National Walking Horse Association (NWHA). Judgment was entered in favor of the National Walking Horse Association (NWHA) on the claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and intentional interference with business relations. The Court found each of these four claims were without merit and dismissed them in their entirety.

TWHBEA’s remaining claim of copyright infringement was decided by Summary Judgment in January, 2007, when the Court held that TWHBEA’s Registry, Registry Certificates and Registration Numbers are protected by copyright. NWHA admitted use of the certificates to obtain pedigree information. For this infringement, the Court assessed statutory damages against NWHA in the amount of $31,000.00 and enjoined NWHA from soliciting or referring to the “TWHBEA Registry”, “TWHBEA Certificates” or “TWHBEA Registration Numbers” through any applications or websites.

This ruling does not prohibit NWHA from using pedigree information nor does it negatively impact the NWHA Tracking Registry. The Court ruled that NWHA is not enjoined from requesting pedigree information from a horse owner. The Court was emphatically plain in stating the injunction does not extend to facts of a horse’s pedigree, name, markings or color. A horse owner may provide and NWHA may request pedigree information. This is a victory not only for the NWHA Tracking Registry but also for the owners’ right to use their own horses pedigree, name, color or markings.

The National Walking Horse Association is committed to the preservation of the naturally gaited walking horse and zero tolerance for the practice of soring. Through NWHA’s Tracking Registry, the natural gait of the walking horse will be promoted and protected.



The Court’s Memorandum, in its entirety, is posted on the NWHA website at http://www.nwha.com.

 

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