Kubota Sues Kioti Tractors

Tue December 17, 2002 - National Edition

Kubota Corporation of Osaka, Japan, and its affiliated United States distributor Kubota Tractor Coproration, have served a legal complaint upon tractor manufacturer Daedong Industrial Co. Ltd. and its U.S. distributor Kioti Tractors.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Fresno, CA, charges trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition. The suit alleges that Kioti engaged in trade dress infringement by using Kubota’s distinctive orange color, and in some cases, Kubota’s hood design, on competing tractor models. The suit further alleges that Kioti has been responsible for falsely indicating a current relationship between itself and Kubota’s tractor segment.

Kubota is seeking an injunction barring Kioti’s use of its designs, and againt false and misleading statements. It also is seking monetary damages. Also named as a defendant in the suit is a California dealer alleged to have engaged in conduct similar to Kioti’s.