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Chrysler And Pure Detroit Argue Who’s More Imported

March 10, 2012

After Pure Detroit opened its first of three stores on Thanksgiving Day in 1998, the company built momentum with a website ( featuring branded clothing and merchandise; proceeds benefit Detroit-area charities.

After Chrysler introduced its “Imported from Detroit” tagline in a Super Bowl commercial in 2011, the automaker built on the ad’s momentum with a website ( featuring branded clothing and merchandise; proceeds benefit Detroit-area charities.

Over a year after the television ad aired, the bickering between the two companies is heated enough to set River Rouge on fire again. Chrysler doesn’t like Pure Detroit selling things with “Imported from Detroit” on them, especially after denial of a preliminary injunction against Pure Detroit in U.S. District Court last June.

A statement on Pure Detroit’s website takes the high road, explaining, “Prior to creating Pure Detroit’s T-shirts with the City of Detroit seal and the phrase ‘Imported from Detroit,’ we understood from our highly-regarded trademark attorney that Pure Detroit was well within its rights to produce its products.”

According to The Detroit News, John VanOphem, an attorney for Pure Detroit, has a slightly different tone in his court filing. He stresses Chrysler’s “‘Imported From Detroit' designation for its vehicles and its (online merchandise store) that are not produced, designed, engineered, built, assembled, delivered, or sold in Detroit is literally a false statement and misrepresents the geographic origin of such vehicles and products.”

Even though a Chrysler delivered or sold in Detroit would technically disqualify “Imported from Detroit” status, spokesperson Michael Palese would only respond that since the automaker is “in the process of reviewing these amendments and considering our options, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The issue could go to trial later this year if the two firms can’t come to terms first. That seems unlikely, given they can’t even agree on a mediator.

It’s not known whether the name Clint Eastwood came up in discussion.

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