Gas Station sued over copyright


(KXAN) — The holders of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” copyright are suing a central Texas business — accusing its owners of marketing and selling “at least 66 illicit items” with trademarked logos and images related to the classic 1974 horror film.

According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Texas, Roy and Lisa Rose run The Gas Station off State Highway 304, which was a film location for the 1974 movie. It sells barbecue and horror memorabilia, hosts events and rents out cabin. KXAN reached out to the Roses for comment.

The plaintiff, Vortex Inc., is a family-owned business created in 1974 to manage the rights to the film. It has licensed it to several other companies to produce a variety of products, including clothing, toys, novelties, video games and more.

The Gas Station has existed since the 60s, but its claim to fame comes courtesy the 1974 horror film classic, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." (KXAN Photo/Kelsey Thompson)
The Gas Station has existed since the 1960s, but its claim to fame comes courtesy the 1974 horror film classic, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” (KXAN/Kelsey Thompson)

Vortex’s agents say they reached out to the Roses in March 2016 to establish a licensing agreement.

According to the lawsuit, Roy responded “audaciously” that they would only do a deal if the film’s writers, Toby Hooper and Kim Henkel, would be available annually to sign autographs at The Gas Station.

Roy also reportedly wanted to recoup their initial expenses before paying back licensing fees.

The company’s response was a reminder that Vortex still owns the copyrights and that the Roses could not use them without permission, and a meeting between the two businesses occurred, the lawsuit stated.

After that meeting, Roy was to provide a business plan to Vortex, which it says never came.

It wasn’t until 2020 that Vortex investigated the Roses’ Cult Classic Convention, a yearly gathering of horror and cult classics film enthusiasts. There, it found a “number of infringing goods,” the lawsuit said.

Further investigation by the company found that the Roses also sold these products online and at a chain of Ohio smoke shops, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full lawsuit and see examples of memorabilia below:

In the lawsuit, Vortex’s attorney asks for $150,000 in statutory damages per infringing work, for a total $9.9 million, as well as legal fees and all profits from sales of the goods.

The lawsuit also asks the court to require the Roses destroy any remaining products.

“We take the protection of our intellectual property rights very seriously; this is one of the tenets that has allowed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film franchise to remain independently owned and controlled by its original creators,” Vortex wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately in this instance we felt the need to protect against the infringement of those rights through court action.”

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