If you have been paying attention it seems like Specialized is up to it’s old tricks again. This time making a little shop in Cochrane Alberta change it’s name from Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio because the big S has the name Roubaix trademarked. Everyone is all up in arms over this and I agree…it’s stupid, but not the first time that the Morgan Hill company has played this game.
One of the little frame shops on Vancouver Island had to deal with this back in 2005, back then they were called Epic Ti but one day they received a letter from Specialized that they have the word Epic trademarked and that they have to change their name. They changed their name to Everti and never looked back.
The next time I heard about Specialized flexing it’s trademark muscles was against the once beloved Mountain Cycle out of Portland Oregon and their use of the Stumptown (a nickname for Portland for over 150 years) name for their Cyclocross bike. I guess Stumptown was just too close to Stumpjumper…because that’s logical right? This helped bring Mountain Cycle to it’s knees, they laid off a bunch of staff and were sold shortly after.
In doing some research I found a few more small businesses who where visited by the Specialized trademark fairy. The first was Epic Wheel Works (now Sugar Wheel Works) who was actually proactive and contacted Specialized when she was looking to expand into a new space, but was slapped down by their lawyers who told her to change the name of her company.
So, this is where it get’s sticky. I am all for showing Specialized as a big huge corporation with devil horns swallowing up small business’s while cackling maniacally…I mean, that must be what’s going on right? Well, yes…but all because they decided that they did not want to have their trademarks genericized. I mean, they should really own the words, Epic and Roubaix right, those words are never used for anything other than their brand names…right?
What do you think? Do you think it is right for Specialized to defend their trademarks or should they take a play out of the vlogbrothers book and share for the betterment of the sport and everyone involved?
On a related note….I have some Specialized tires that I want to get rid of…they work great…but seem a little slimy, anyone interested?