The Light Sport Aircraft movement has gone from the airport to the courtroom as CubCrafters has filed a lawsuit against American Legend Aircraft Co. over its Cub-inspired design, the Legend Cub.
The lawsuit was filed in a Texas federal court to stop Sulphur Springs, Texas-based American Legend Aircraft Co. from using the names “Cub” and “Legend,” as well as the well-known yellow with black stripe design, according to Todd Simons, a spokesman for Yakima, Wash.-based CubCrafters.
Since 1986 CubCrafters has been rebuilding Cubs. It launched the Sport Cub in July as its entry into the LSA market.
Simons noted that CubCrafters used the tag line “The Legend Continues” to promote its product in the late 1990s. On the CubCrafters website the LSA-eligible Cub is touted as a “Legend” edition.
“Against this backdrop and the investments in our company that are at risk, we are unwilling to share our product’s name and likeness with another company’s like product and in turn willingly assume the risk of the product confusion that creates,” he said.
The 10-page complaint asks the court to stop American Legend from “diluting the distinctive quality of CubCrafters’ trademarks” and infringing on those trademarks. CubCrafters also wants American Legend to pay all profits derived from selling the disputed merchandise, as well as damages and attorneys’ fees.
Tim Elliott, a spokesman for American Legend Aircraft, was more succinct in his response. “We believe that the lawsuit and their claims have absolutely no merit,” he said. “We intend to continue our strong defense of the case.”
American Legend was created to market the Legend Cub, one of the first LSAs to be manufactured in the United States.
The Legend Cub made its first flight in March. Company officials note the Legend Cub is a refined version of the Piper Cub as it is wider, has the fuel tanks in the wings and an optional glass panel and is built of man-made materials Mr. Piper never knew existed.
In a previous interview with General Aviation News, a Legend Aircraft official noted the airplane isn’t even the same color as a Piper Cub. Piper Cubs are painted Lock Haven Yellow or Piper Cub Yellow.
The Legend Cub is painted Chrome Yellow, the same color as school buses.
This is not the first time CubCrafters has been involved in controversy over the Cub design. In 2002 the company was the target of a complaint filed by the New Piper Aircraft Co. that sought to stop it from manufacturing the Top Cub, which Piper alleged was a beefed-up Super Cub.
In 2002 Mark Miller, a spokesman for New Piper, said the company filed suit because while it had no plans to build Cubs ever again, officials were concerned about potential lawsuits. New Piper petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to force CubCrafters to stop building the Top Cub. CubCrafters countered that the Top Cub was a highly refined version of the workhorse airplane. The FAA sided with CubCrafters. The Type Certificate for the Top Cub was issued under FAR 23 on Dec. 16, 2004.