On April 16, Transworld Business posted an exclusive interview with Bob McKnight concerning the court case between Quiksilver Inc. and Kymsta Corp. At that time we had not been able to obtain a statement from Kymsta Corp. Owner Roxanne Heptner. Since then, Heptner called to tell her side of the story. Here’s what she has to say.
So you have a different opinion on the outcome of the court case?
Yes, there's definitely a different perspective on our side than his [Bob McKnight] for sure.
Can you fill me in on where your opinions differ?
When the jury came back we had a victory. We had a victory and they had a victory. They could exist and we could exist. We had free rights, unfettered use of our name. So it was terrific. But that wasn't good enough [for Quiksilver]. They cried foul, and they said 'No, no, no. We have to re-do these questions [on jury's questionnaire]. These questions don't fit the case.' Yet they were their [Quiksilver's] questions.
So it was a manipulation on their side from their attorney to the judge who then called back the jury the following morning. Quiksilver's attorney came back again, re-worded the questions so that they had to answer them in their favor, dropped the questions that were in our favor, and sent the jury back in to re-deliberate without any explanation.
What they're not saying is that there really was a verdict in our favor. They want everyone to believe that it was an obvious decision that it was in their favor. But it wasn't. The jurors wanted us to exist, they wanted us to have free use of our name, and then it was manipulated away.
The jury wrote a letter [to the judge] saying that they felt that their verdict given the first time was fair and just. So the jury was not happy that they were called back and manipulated to only answering certain questions. They originally answered like 25 questions. They were sent back in and asked to just address five or six questions. So if you were a juror and you were called back in, it was kind of obvious—you've not given us the answers we want and you're not going to go home until you give us the answers we want.
Our victory was manipulates away.
So you're saying that the jury's original decision was in favor of Kymsta?
There were four questions that needed to be answered yes [in order for Quiksilver to get a complete victory]. The jury answered three yes and one no. They didn't get their complete victory. They could've walked away, but they didn't get the victory of what this is all about. The victory was for us not to exist. The jury didn't hand them that. The jury acknowledged that they had a legal trademark, but at the same time they addressed the fact that we could co-exist. That's the part they're not saying. […]They [Quiksilver] only want you to know what they want you to know, and it was a manipulation of the system.
What now? What do you do at this point?
I want you to know that in this article that you've done with him [Bob McKnight] I'd like to clear up some of the statements he made.
We did have a meeting after we were contacted by Quiksilver for the first time by mail. We gave them the information they requested. We never said 'screw you.' He asked us to give them information of when we started and we did that. Then when they asked for a meeting we did that. They asked us, if we had to come up with a money number, what would that number be? We didn't go down asking them for any money. You know they've been trying to turn this in to us trying to come after them for money since day one because that's all they have. They had to make up something. They asked us for a figure. We didn't go down there looking to sell our business, looking to sell out label. We went down there to see why they called a meeting. Then they've turned that around and used it in every opportunity they could through out the years.
So I would just really like the truth to come out for once. We never went after them for money. Not once. They asked us for a figure once. We gave them a figure. That was it. We answered a question. It was no more than that.
Is there anything else?
Well, I'd just really appreciate it if you'd put our side out there because in the Orange County area you only read their side of it. I was hoping that our side would finally come out, but most of the papers I've spoken to aren't really interested in the process. I think Apparel News is going to be pretty open minded in their article.
I just think it's pretty scary that you can have a label and then 16 years later, when you've done everything right—you acquired your trademark rights by usage—that somebody can come and take it away from you. It's just wrong.
Click Here for an exclusive interview with Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight conducted on Wed. April 16.
Click Here for the entire Transworld Business Web exclusive, which includes comments from the chief lawyers on both sides and a complete time line of the case.
Make Sure To Check Out The May Issue Of Transworld Business For The Complete Article