Ryder Can't Proceed With Suit
A bankruptcy court ruled Aug. 27 that Ryder Systems Inc. can't proceed with a trademark lawsuit against Budget Group Inc., which operates Ryder's former consumer-oriented yellow-truck rental division.Judge Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington refused to lift the automatic stay granted to Budget Group that serves as a protective shield against litigation while the company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Budget Group said it hopes to sign a sale deal before that hearing that will help it decide if it wants to keep using the disputed trademark. Miami-based Ryder Systems, which rents white trucks with red and black Ryder logos for com-mercial use, sold its yellow truck-rental division in 1996 to a company that then sold the business to Budget for $706 million. Budget Group operates the yellow-truck business as Ryder TRS under a trademark license agree-ment that gave it the right to use the Ryder trademark, subject to Ryder Systems' right to approve any advertising that used the trademark. Budget can use the Ryder mark only in conjunction with another mark as of 2003 and not at all by 2005, court papers said. Budget Group, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., filed for bankruptcy protection in July, listing $4.05 billion in assets and $4.33 billion in liabilities. The debtor is the nation's third-largest car and truck rental company.