Team Quest Fighters Dan Henderson And Matt Lindland Do Battle In Court

This post is written by Jonathan Snowden.

Long time training partners Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland are ready to settle their differences, not in the cage, but in a court of law. In February, Henderson filed suit alleging trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and unfair competition. The former Pride champion claimed that he and teammate Randy Couture founded Team Quest in 1999 and were using the name and a clenched fist logo before Lindland joined the duo a year later. Although he admits to being aware that Lindland has been using the Team Quest name and logo for a decade continuously, Henderson contends they belong to him - and he wants them back.

Last week Lindland fired back with a motion to dismiss Henderson's suit and his own counterclaims against Henderson. Lindland says Henderson was never an owner of Team Quest, rather that Lindland, Couture, and Couture's former trainer, Robert Follis,  entered into business together, and they built a gym inside a warehouse located on a used car lot Lindland owned near Portland, Oregon. While Henderson did wear a Team Quest t-shirt to events in Japan, it was Lindland, Couture, and Follis who built a business selling MMA instruction and apparel, creating a reputation of excellence throughout the MMA world.

In June 2001, Lindland opened the new Team Quest Fight Club in Gresham, Oregon. He registered Team Quest Fight Club LLC in Oregon and Couture and trainer Robert Follis invested in the new business as co-owners. Henderson declined. According to the counterclaim:

In the early years, Follis trained, ran the day-to-day operations of the gym, and managed the bills, Follis' wife coordinated purchases and sales of Team Quest merchandise, and Lindland and Couture provided instruction with Follis while also using their contacts to increase the visibility of the Team Quest brand.

...Lindland, who assisted ("cornered for") Henderson at many of his fights over the years, encouraged him to become an owner in the business. Henderson was not interested. Indeed. he never contributed financially to TQFC and never wanted to devote the time, money, and energy required to run the business and build the brand. The risks and investments were undertaken solely by Lindland and TQFC.


Lindland, now the sole owner of Team Quest, also owns several federally registered trademarks to the Team Quest name and mark. In 2006, Lindland began franchising Team Quest gyms and authorized Henderson to open a Team Quest gym in Temecula, California. Before this, the counterclaim describes Henderson's involvement in Team Quest as "nominal."

Lindland contends that Henderson recognized Lindland was the proper owner of the Team Quest name and logo - otherwise, why would Henderson request a license to use the marks in California? When Henderson authorized California gyms in Encinitas and San Jacinto to use the Team Quest name, Lindland terminated Henderson's license.Lindland believes Henderson'scontinued use of the Team Quest name infringes his rights and he is seeking permanent injunctive relief.

When reached for comment, Lindland was hesitant to speak about an ongoing legal dispute. "I can't comment," the 2000 Olympic Silver medalist said. "But I think the documents speak for themselves." As of press time, Henderson hadn't responded to requests for comment.

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