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Old 12-07-13, 03:44 PM   #1
downtube42
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Legitimate Brand Protection by Specialized?

The guy is going to change his name rather than fight; even if he won he'd go bankrupt paying legal fees during the fight. So I guess we'll never know how the courts would rule. Out lawyered from the get-go.

http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2013/...t-specialized/

Any educated legal opinions out there?
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Old 12-07-13, 03:48 PM   #2
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This is a business decision, not a legal one. And a poor one at that. It reminds me of MLB's boneheaded move a few years ago to send cease and desist letters all those Little League and Babe Ruth teams. Stupid.
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Old 12-07-13, 03:55 PM   #3
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I wonder how many such letters Specialized must send out to every competing manufacturer of a Roubaix frame, tire, jersey, etc.? How on earth did they manage to trademark the name of a town in a foreign land that has a history in cycling that far exceeds their existance as a company? They should be welcome to borrow or use the name. But, the name Roubaix must surely be public domain?
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Old 12-07-13, 04:28 PM   #4
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They should have given him license to use their 'trademark'. They should also fire their lawyer. Although they should have done that a long time ago. Specialized has a history of beating up on the little guy.

I know what I'm buying my friends for the holiday: A Cafe Roubaix T-Shirt!

http://www.caferoubaix.ca/on-line-st...33&id=20294353
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Old 12-07-13, 04:31 PM   #5
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This is sick. Specialized has no right in any moral sense of the word to that name. This action only serves to demean the brand and I own 2 of their bikes!
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Old 12-07-13, 05:00 PM   #6
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The bike shop should buy the rights to use the city's name -- from the city. Then if Specialized wants to sue anyone, they would have to prove that Roubaix France doesn't have rights to the name.

My bike club had a similar, but much smaller threat. One of the club's annual rides is "Women on Wheels." Along came a women's motorcycle club who trademarked the name and demanded we name our ride something else. Our club's reaction was, "Meh, so sue us and see how far it goes. We can prove prior use."
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Old 12-07-13, 05:08 PM   #7
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This makes as much sense as if the Ford Motor Company threatened Nevada's "Mustang Ranch" with legal action.
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Old 12-07-13, 05:38 PM   #8
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Can you copyright something as it relates to certain products ? Such as Specialized copyrighting Roubaix in relation to bikes and accessories, but would have no claim on Roubaix cheese ... ?
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Old 12-07-13, 09:33 PM   #9
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I wonder how many such letters Specialized must send out to every competing manufacturer of a Roubaix frame, tire, jersey, etc.? How on earth did they manage to trademark the name of a town in a foreign land that has a history in cycling that far exceeds their existance as a company? They should be welcome to borrow or use the name. But, the name Roubaix must surely be public domain?
Found this list posted on Slow Twitch:
Endura Roubaix gloves, jackets
Tifosi Roubaix glasses
Castelli Roubaix gloves
Fuji Roubaix bike
Challenge Roubaix tire
Veloflex Roubaix tire
Capo- whole line of Roubaix clothes
DeMarchi Roubaix clothes
MEC Roubaix tights
VCC Roubaix knee warmers...

Thing is, Specialized owns the Roubaix trademark in Canada. ASI (parent company of Fuji) owns the Roubaix trademark in the US - registered in 1992. I believe Specialized had to negotiate a trademark agreement w/ ASI to permit Specialized to use Roubaix.

It would be interesting to find out if Specialized was able to trademark Seattle, Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Tokyo, etc, as all those were part of their Langster City series.

More than anything, the scenario points out how f'ed up the legal system is. Neither ASI nor Specialized should have ever been granted trademarks for 'Roubaix' in the first place. Or if you're going to grant a trademark, it should be specific as "Roubaix model name of road bicycle", not something as general as "Roubaix relating in any way to bicycles."

Cafe Roubaix has a good chance of winning its lawsuit, but even if he wins legally, he loses financially. More often than not, the winner of a case is determined by who can afford the better legal representation.

Last edited by Tinker Black; 12-07-13 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:43 PM   #10
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I want to register the name, "Made in China," so that Specialized has to pay me a royalty every time they sell anything.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:43 PM   #11
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More than anything, the scenario points out how f'ed up the legal system is. Neither ASI nor Specialized should have ever been granted trademarks for 'Roubaix' in the first place. Or if you're going to grant a trademark, it should be specific as "Roubaix model name of road bicycle", not something as general as "Roubaix relating in any way to bicycles."

Cafe Roubaix has a good chance of winning its lawsuit, but even if he wins legally, he loses financially. More often than not, the winner of a case is determined by who can afford the better legal representation.
The key thing is trademark owners must take immediate action to defend a violation or run the risk of losing it. If Specialized chose to ignore it they might not have a trademark later.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:00 PM   #12
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The key thing is trademark owners must take immediate action to defend a violation or run the risk of losing it. If Specialized chose to ignore it they might not have a trademark later.
No, the key thing is Specialized should have never been granted a broad trademark for the name of city that has been in the public domain for a thousand years.

If the shop were named Cafe Stumpjumper, I'd totally be behind Specialized. Roubaix is still an obscure city to most North Americans. If it were Cafe Seattle, and Specialized claimed that it infringed on their Langster Seattle edition, I think the ridiculousness of it all would make front page news.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:49 PM   #13
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What crap on Specialized part. I encourage anyone to write them directly and let them know how you feel. Going after an Afghanistan war vet and a Canadian at that who is making the sacrifice to help us Americans fight our war. No more Specialized products for me.
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Old 12-07-13, 11:01 PM   #14
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No more for me, either. I posted as such on their FB page, and there are TONS of similar angry cyclist posts on their page as well.
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Old 12-07-13, 11:11 PM   #15
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Not surprising from a company that got it's start by taking Ritchey's bike to Asia, getting someone there to copy it and then suing Ritchey for trademark infringement. Guys are a bunch of winners all around.
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Old 12-08-13, 12:05 AM   #16
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Like any of us haven't figured out this is just how the system works? Remember what happened to Scotch tape? No it isn't cool but if you pay the money to trademark anything someone has to pay you to use that name. Sometimes it goes the other way as well, like when the Chiffons sued George Harrison over My sweet Lord. Using the tune from "Oh happy Day", A song in public domain, because it sounded a lot like "He's so Fine" which more than likely was a copy of Oh Happy day itself? This is what companies hire lawyers to do. We all know about the Term Three-Pete? Pat Ryan had it trade marked and when the Bulls won the first three championships back to back and it was used on Caps, shirts, cups and whatever guess who collected royalties from all of the vendors for the Bulls? Yes it seems strange but that is why they trademark these things. If they should be allowed to do so is another question, but one the courts have already answered. Just remember life was never promised to be fair. As they say, its a beach and then you die.
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Old 12-08-13, 02:25 AM   #17
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Time to order a Cafe Roubaix shirt.

F $pecialized.
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Old 12-08-13, 03:25 AM   #18
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F Specialized.

This is just another case of them going after the little guy because they know they can win.

They went after Stumptown Bicycles because it sounded too much like Stumpjumper... Stumptown has been another name for Portland Oregon for well over 100 years and mebbe they should sue Specialized for several million for copping their name.
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Old 12-08-13, 04:42 AM   #19
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Someone start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the legal battle. I'm in for $100, win or lose it'd be nice to take it to those jerks.
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Old 12-08-13, 09:19 AM   #20
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Trek Bicycles is currently in litigation with Subaru of America for illegally using the Trek name in the CrossTrek vehicle. Fortunately Subaru has the money to tell Trek to piss up a rope.

Not the case for the shop in the OP. The shop owner should take this a viral as he can and accept donations for a legal defense.
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Old 12-08-13, 09:52 AM   #21
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I'm not a legal expert, but usually if the same name is used, but the products have no overlap, its not a problem. Consider Apple - a computer company (when it started) and the Beatles' record label. They did have an issue when Apple got into the music business via the I-Pod & I-Tunes, but both companies worked it out so each came out a winner.

And does anyone remember when Southwest Airlines had a conflict with a smaller charter airline over a marketing jingle back in the 1990s? Both of those worked it out with a highly public ad campaign (SWA's President Herb Keller(?) and the other airline's President having an arm wrestling match); both got some major P.R points, they raised a ton of cash for some charities down in Texas, and the smaller airline became a 'feeder' for Southwest.

I wonder if Trek and Subaru can work something out so both benefit. Example is that Trek/Volkswagen campaign of a few years ago (buy a VW, get a Trek bike). Seems like a Trek/Subaru mash-up would make more sense than Trek/VW.
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Old 12-08-13, 10:12 AM   #22
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And does anyone remember when Southwest Airlines had a conflict with a smaller charter airline over a marketing jingle back in the 1990s? Both of those worked it out with a highly public ad campaign (SWA's President Herb Keller(?) and the other airline's President having an arm wrestling match); both got some major P.R points, they raised a ton of cash for some charities down in Texas, and the smaller airline became a 'feeder' for Southwest.
Most of the executives in today's large corporations lack Herb Kelleher's business savvy. If Speciallized was smart, or imaginative what so ever, they would would pull some kind of a positive spin PR stunt and milk it for for all the press they can get. Then just do some kind of back room licensing deal with the guy to allow him to keep his name. Frigging ridiculous.
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Old 12-08-13, 10:30 AM   #23
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I'm all for supporting the little guy here and I already am not a fan of Specialized for other reasons, but what does being a war veteran have anything to do with this story? Talk about baiting the reader.
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Old 12-08-13, 11:44 AM   #24
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It has to do with it because the guy opening this business is helping him deal with PTSD and all that stuff. Bringing this legal nonsense on this guy is a whole lot of unnecessary stress for him I'm sure.

The term in question is the name of a French town (or region perhaps) and also the name of a famous bike race. Fuji uses the name on one of their bicycles, and as I understand it Specialized actually worked out a deal with Fuji to use the name (Fuji using it first). So really Specialized should not have any grounds for claiming "ownership" to that term whatsoever. Not to mention all the other products out there (usually bijke products) that carry the name Roubaix. I haven't heard of any legal battles over ANY of that stuff. So why this guy's shop, why now?

I mean look at Blaupunkt car stereos. Every single car stereo model they make or have made in the past carried the name of some town or city in the world. Should they be sued for all that? Should they sue anyone else who uses a city name in the name of a product? Should that other company sue Blaupunkt? I think no to all of those, because it's just the freakin' name of a city. You can't claim ownership to that!
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Old 12-08-13, 03:12 PM   #25
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Another reason I will never buy anything "Specialized" ever! I will not care if they develop the best, finest, most advanced whatever they can come up with, I won't have anything sold by Specialized.

Really? Trademark on the word/name Roubaix?

I realize this company needs to protect their brand, but this is too much.
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