QUINCY, Ill.-Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Titan Tire Corp. alleging trademark infringement of its Armstrong and Pirelli brand names. The lawsuit, filed in August in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Ill., stems from an agreement between the two companies granting Titan Tire a license to produce certain Armstrong brand tires for sale only in North America.
But because Titan supplies North America-based Deere & Co. with Armstrong-brand tires for its tractors, some of those tires ended up on Deere tractors shipped to Europe, according to Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan president and CEO.
PATC's lawsuit stems from that action, he said.
Prior to the lawsuit, Titan Tire and PATC had held discussions about the dispute, according to Mr. Taylor.
``I cannot tell John Deere, `You can have these tires, but you can't sell these tractors overseas,''' Mr. Taylor said, adding that Titan Tire cannot interfere with the free trade of its customers.
PATC's attorney, Glen Kanwit, said Titan should have taken the Armstrong name off of the molds for tires headed for Europe. He also said some Titan-made tires bearing the Pirelli name were sent to Europe. PATC is concerned about the trademark infringement because if the disputed tires are of inferior quality, it drags down Pirelli's name, according to the attorney.
Titan Tire was created in 1994 when Quincy-based Titan Wheel International Inc. purchased PATC's Des Moines, Iowa, manufacturing facility which included molds that produce tires bearing the Armstrong name.
In August, PATC extended its Armstrong license agreement with Titan Tire until the end of the year, according to Mr. Taylor.