Piano Brand SOHMER's Long Journey Leads To Federal Court.

RENO, April 15, 2009 -- The Samick Music Corporation and Persis International Inc. became parties to a federal lawsuit today to determine ownership of the the long-standing piano trademark SOHMER.

Samick, a well establish brand of musical instruments, filed a federal trademark lawsuit today against competitor Persis International Inc., claiming to be the rightful owner of the trademark associated with pianos.

The complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court for Nevada details the history of the SOHMER brand, which was founded by a German immigrant named Hugo Sohmer in 1872. Mr. Sohmer later organized the Sohmer & Co. Inc. In New York which later changed its name to the Sohmer Corporation before merging with Mason & Hamlin Co. in 1994. All of the assets of combined companies were later acquired by the Massachusetts-based Burgett, Inc. Among the assets acquired were the trademark SOHMER, piano rim presses, a factory in Havermill and a computer archive of piano designs.

Samick alleges to have received a license from Burgett to use the SOHMER mark in or about 2002 before buying the mark from Burgett on March 11, 2009.

According to the pleadings, a number of variations of the SOHMER trademark were registered by previous parties, but the registrations were cancelled or abandoned because the registrations were not maintained or completed.

Samick filed Intent To Use applications for SOHMER and SOHMER & CO. in February, 2001 but to date a certificate of registration has not been issued.

According to pleading, Persis International Inc. filed an Intent To Use application for SOHMER in connection with painos on February 15, 2001. Persis later offered pianos for sale bearing the SOHMER trademark at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade show held January 15-18, 2003. The show directory also indicated Persis was advertising pianos under the marks "Sohmer & Co Pianos," "Sohmer Pianos," and "Sohmer & Son Pianos."

Samich sent a cease and desist letter to Persis International Inc. on October 29, 2002.

Both parties' registration applications have been suspended pending a hearing before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Absent from Samick's complaint and application files is an assertion of use in commerce by Samick.

The complaint as pled by Samick alleges claims based on federal and common law trademark infringement, state and federal unfair competition, and federal trademark dilution. In addition to injunctive relief, Samick is seeking: seizure and destruction of all of Persis's goods bearing the SOHMER MARK, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs.

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