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DealMaker covers up Honda trademarks in Potsdam

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POTSDAM — The last vestiges of Honda’s relationship with DealMaker Auto Group in Potsdam have been covered up.

Workers spent the last few weeks constructing a facade in front of the entryway to the former Honda dealership on 42 Maple St.

The construction was done to avoid sanctions of $2,000 a day against DealMaker. The now-defunct chain of car dealerships, based in Watertown, was found to be in contempt by federal court for continuing to display Honda trademarks at the Potsdam location, despite a prior court order to remove these trademarks.

According to a court order filed March 26, the sanctions would begin April 5 and continue until the trademarked material was covered or removed.

The order to remove the trademarked material, including logos and architectural elements, was first issued by the court in February 2012. Most of the logos were removed, but the entryway to the Potsdam dealership remained.

Most Honda Dealerships have a large, blue cylindrical entryway, flanked by a wavy blue line. This distinct architecture, referred to as the “barrel and wave” design in court documents, is trademarked by Honda.

DealMaker claimed the company did not have the money to remove the trademarked entryway, and that doing so would violate the company’s lease on the building, but the court determined neither argument was valid.

In March 2012 Honda filed a motion to hold DealMaker in contempt, since the company had not yet removed the “barrel and wave” from its Potsdam location. The newly-constructed facade covers this entry area.

DealMaker owner P.J. Samao declined to comment on the lawsuit’s recent developments or the fate of the Potsdam building.

The order is the latest development in a long legal battle between DealMaker and the American Honda Motor Company.

DealMaker’s relationship with Honda began when it purchased a Honda dealership in Watertown in 2004. It began construction on the Potsdam location in 2007.

Honda cut off their relationship with DealMaker in 2010, stating the company had violated its agreement and not made payments on time.

This started a string of lawsuits and counter-lawsuits between the two companies in federal court that is still ongoing.

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