(Image: Affordable Storage in Lubbock)
Twin brothers David and Michael Postar – who own dueling storage businesses all over Lubbock – are battling each other in two new lawsuits, and it’s not the first time they’ve fought legally.
You might know their names, but you almost certainly recognize their shared trademark – Affordable Storage.
How it all started
Michael got into the business in 1996 with what he called Lubbock’s first upscale self-storage facility.
“I started out mowing lawns when I was younger and also owned Holiday Lighting. I needed a place to store my equipment,” Michael said in a 2016 business profile in the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal.
According to Michael’s lawsuits, David joined him in 2000. The smiley face was Michael’s idea, he claimed; so was the smiley person – the same yellow happy face but with arms and legs.
A 42-inch-tall smiley person adorned each location of the business.
“Due to personal and professional differences, in 2017, the joint business operations between Michael and David ceased,” one of the lawsuits said.
Legal battles began
In 2016, David sued Michael in state court. The case ended a year later in mediation – both agreeing to share the Affordable Storage name sometimes seen with a smiley face in place of the ‘o’ in the word Affordable. The name is held by Postar IP, and they own it 50/50, according to court records.
Michael uses the name exclusively in Lubbock County while David uses it exclusively in Tom Green and Midland counties.
But in Lubbock, David’s company competes as Discount Storage.
Either can use Affordable Storage with its little happy-face anywhere else – except the U.S. Copyright office. David submitted a copyright on the smiley character in 2019, but Michael already trademarked it for Postar IP a year earlier.
Michael said the copyright application was a violation of their mediation, so he filed two lawsuits against David in federal court January 12.
Michael had words for his brother like “fraudulently” and “maliciously.” He claimed David misled the Copyright Office.
David’s application said his company, Gargoyle Structures Inc., was the author. But Michael said he made the logo, not David or his company.
Michael said David falsely claimed 2017 as the starting point for the logo.
Second lawsuit, second problem
Things got more complicated in 2018 when Postar IP sold Gavin Hyland the rights to use the name and trademarked logo for three years in Slaton and Brownfield.
Then the three years expired.
The name and logo kept going at Hyland’s two locations. In the second of two lawsuits, Michael not only sued Hyland but named David too.
“Hyland is an employee of David’s,” the trademark lawsuit said. “David assisted Gavin in entering the self-storage industry, and they both use the same artists and website designers.”
David encouraged Hyland in his “continued and unlawful use” of the logo even after the rights expired.
Michael called it a conspiracy, saying David and Hyland “had a meeting of the minds.” Michael claimed they did this to diminish his business in Lubbock.
Here’s what’s at stake
Michael asked a federal judge to stop David and Hyland from using the logo in Slaton and Brownfield. He also wants the judge to force David to withdraw the copyright.
He wants money to cover his legal fees. But how much money does he want after that? The lawsuit did not say. Michael asked for a trial by jury.
David, David’s company, and Hyland have not yet filed their side of the story in court records.
LubbockLights.com reached out to the attorney for Michael Postar who declined to comment. We also reached out to David Postar and Gavin Hyland at Gargoyle Management multiple times. They did not return multiple calls.