Updated at 3:18 p.m.
The tens of thousands of roaring motorcycles that descended on Washington this weekend for the annual Rolling Thunder Inc. rally are gone, and a lawsuit they filed to stop potential copyright infringers is likely to leave soon as well.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Rolling Thunder event in Washington, which raises awareness of soldiers who are prisoners of war or missing in action, and encourages support for veterans. Hoping to stop unauthorized vendors from profiting off of copyrighted artwork developed for each year's ride, organizers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 4 seeking pre-emptive court orders.
Jeffrey Kaufman of Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, the lead attorney for Rolling Thunder, said today that the firm believes the lawsuit worked and that it'll be notifying the court soon that no further action is needed.
“It’s our sense that the word got out to those who would otherwise be infringing on the client’s copyright and kept the supply of infringing goods significantly down,” he said.
In a previous interview, a spokeswoman for Rolling Thunder said that this was the first time the group had gone after alleged infringers in court. According to the complaint, the group had tried to get law enforcement to crack down in the past but found that police wouldn’t get involved without a court order.
In the weeks leading up to the ride, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer issued orders authorizing police to search for possible infringers and impound any goods they might find. She also granted a temporary restraining order barring unauthorized sales of any T-shirts, posters, flyers or other goods that used the copyrighted art.
A Rolling Thunder representative wasn’t available Tuesday for comment.
A show cause hearing is scheduled for June 5, but Kaufman said that Oblon Spivak will be informing the court that the hearing won’t be necessary.
“At this point, we’re going to remain vigilant to keep the amount of infringing goods from escalating again,” he said. “For now, there doesn’t seem to be any need to pursue [the lawsuit].”