Police: Man Violated GM Copyright & Trademark Rights
By Mark Bellinger
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - Copyright and trademark rights were the focus of a criminal investigation by Hendersonville Police.
Police have charged the owner of a motorcycle shop with forgery. They arrested 55-year-old Mike Archbold on Thursday.
Archbold owns All Things Chrome in Hendersonville. General Motors told police All Things Chrome was selling parts with Chevy logos that are not made by GM.
Police said GM routinely checks for violations of its copyright and trademark rights.
In Nashville, Eddie Butler of Hunter's Custom Automotive showed us what General Motors is trying to protect. Several items sported the famous Chevrolet bow tie.
"A genuine GM part has to have this official GM logo right here. That's how a customer would know if it's a licensed product," Butler said.
General Motors routinely checks businesses to see if anyone is cheating. The company has exclusive copyright and trademark rights to many items including the Chevy bow tie symbol and the name Camaro.
The car company told police they found something wrong at All Things Chrome in Hendersonville last year and sent cease and desist letters to the business in May and June.
"In March in 2011 they did a test purchase. They purchased a GM, what was supposed to be an authentic GM part. They sent, they made the purchase and got it back and realized it was not an authentic GM part," Hendersonville Police detective Jimmy Garrett said.
So police searched the business and collected 1,600 items including Chevy's bow tie symbols, gear shifters, and dip stick covers.
"With their assistance we went through the business and in three or four different locations we were able to collect counterfeit parts," said Garrett.
Police charged Archbold with five counts of forgery.
Archbold talked to us about the charges inside his shop on Commerce Drive. He doesn't understand why it's a criminal case.
If anything Archbold said it's a civil matter between himself and General Motors. He said police are unfairly picking on him and that other retailers also sell the same thing.
There are aftermarket manufacturers of General Motors products, but Butler said they still have to be authorized by GM.
"Yeah, it can be after market. This is a company that makes them that's a legal company and anything that has that logo on it is official," Butler said.
GM told police they sent Archbold and All Things Chrome cease and desist letters last year, but Archbold said he never got them.
Archbold is scheduled to appear in court on October 12.