Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

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Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby Ross » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:27 am

http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2013/12/ ... ecialized/

A Canadian veteran of the Afghanistan war who operates a tiny bicycle shop in Cochrane is being forced to change his store’s name after being threatened with a lawsuit by one of the giants of the U.S. bike industry.

Dan Richter, owner of Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio, located above the famous Mackay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, says he received a letter from the lawyers of big bicycle maker Specialized several months ago, demanding he change the store’s name because the company owns the trademark on the word Roubaix, which they use to market a brand of road bike.

Richter, however, says he didn’t name his store after the company’s bike, rather after a region in France that hosts one of the most famous bike races in the world, the gruelling 117-year-old Paris-Roubaix. Because the name is an icon of bike culture, and graces hundreds of other products from bike tires to a brand of cycling tights sold by MEC (and even other road bikes), Richter says he has a good case to keep the store name, but is capitulating because he can’t afford a legal fight in court.

“It’s been frustrating,” Richter told me. “The response throughout this process (from Specialized) has been arrogant and almost unbelievably dismissive.

“We didn’t want to go public . . . but they’ve made it clear on no uncertain terms, they are going to sue.”

Larry Koury, managing director of Specialized Canada Inc., said the company is simply defending its legally owned trademark.

“A simple trademark search would have prevented this,” Koury wrote in an email, along with a reference to the federal government’s trademark database showing Specialized’s registration of the word Roubaix. “We are required to defend or lose our trademark registration.”

Richter, who says the running the bike shop has helped him deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder that ended his military career, says he did some research and felt comfortable that naming his store after a location like Roubaix wouldn’t contradict Canada’s intellectual property protection laws. He doesn’t think the name confuses anybody shopping for bikes. His store sells high-end bikes and his handmade wheels in an Italian-cycling inspired environment. He does not sell Specialized products.

“I understand the need for the protection of intellectual property, but this is named after a city known worldwide for this race,” Richter said. “For our customer base, there’s an appeal (with the name Roubaix). Our market understands that race, and it reflects what we want to provide for them.”

Richter says his lawyer thinks they have a good case to make, but the fight could cost upwards of $150,000 in legal fees, a price too steep for his small company.

Changing his company’s name isn’t as simple as erecting a new sign, Richter says. He has been selling custom wheels under that name for about a year and has operated the store since March, all of which has helped him build an formidable brand, reputation and online presence. Being forced to adopt a new moniker means he will have to start anew, an expensive and time-consuming prospect.

“I’ve gone through some very intense (post-traumatic stress disorder) therapy in the last year. Forcing myself to get out there into the public and the business world has taken a huge effort,” he says. “I’m just at the point were we think this might fly, so this was a huge hit for me personally.”
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by BNA » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:56 am

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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby jasonc » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:56 am

there's an epic cycles in Brisbane. Why don't they get sued?
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby vince » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:40 am

my bike is a Fuji Roubaix 1 ? how come Fuji haven been sued? ( to my knowledge )
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby thecaptn » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:55 am

I wont be buying anymore of their bikes, bastards!
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby find_bruce » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:04 am

Or more likely, how come France haven't taken action against Specialized for trying to appropriate French culture eg champagne,
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby thecaptn » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:17 am

Specialized could sue France for breach of copyrite.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:34 am

Well I am glad he has gone public, and really feel for the owner.

Everyone who knows Roubaix knows that it is a French town and unless the shop owner was using the word Specialized, there there is no cause for confusion.

How many other brands have bikes with place names or concepts, what about the Trek Madone?
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby RonK » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:46 am

What is the email address for Specialized Canada?

Better still, what is Larry Koury's email address. I'd like to let him know what I think.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby redsonic » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:40 am

If you are a member of Linkedin (which I am not) you should be able to get Larry Koury's details. A quick internet search showed a few other court cases he has been involved in. Looks like he is litigious. I really hate how large companies intimidate small ones this way. Hopefully if there is enough negative publicity it will bounce back in their (Specialized's) face. I am thinking Helen and Dave Vs McDonald's. If someone finds Larry Koury's email address I for one will let him know how crappy this is.
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Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby RonK » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:01 am

Specialized already getting a hammering on Twitter - @iamspecialized is their Twitter tag. Or @LarryKoury
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby Duck! » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:40 am

I wouldn't have thought they'd have any claim to "intellectual property" by naming a product after a town.....
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby macca33 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:44 am

RonK wrote:Specialized already getting a hammering on Twitter - @iamspecialized is their Twitter tag. Or @LarryKoury



Same on Facebook and deservedly so. How much money is enough for these greedy a-holes.

I've been in contact with the Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio owners and am hoping to purchase a couple of t-shirts as a token of support.

Will NEVER purchase Specialized...

cheers
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:20 pm

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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby g-boaf » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:22 pm

Never was much of a fan of Specialized bikes. As long as they bully this guy around, I'll keep that view.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:23 pm

The decal is available on eBay Australia btw.

Item: Specialized "One Less Specialized," Top Tube Sticker U.S.A. Flag

URL: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.vi ... 1148734984

Alt URL: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Specialized- ... 1148734984
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:32 pm

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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby thecaptn » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:23 pm

macca33 wrote:
RonK wrote:Specialized already getting a hammering on Twitter - @iamspecialized is their Twitter tag. Or @LarryKoury



Same on Facebook and deservedly so. How much money is enough for these greedy a-holes.

I've been in contact with the Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio owners and am hoping to purchase a couple of t-shirts as a token of support.

Will NEVER purchase Specialized...

cheers

Yeah the shop logo shirt looks pretty cool. If you get onto them can I grab one too please macca?
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*Edit* Make that two, my Mrs wants one aswell.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby zero » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:44 pm

vince wrote:my bike is a Fuji Roubaix 1 ? how come Fuji haven been sued? ( to my knowledge )


because they can afford to mount a defence.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby beanspropulsion » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:50 pm

vince wrote:my bike is a Fuji Roubaix 1 ? how come Fuji haven been sued? ( to my knowledge )



From what I am reading the company that owns Fuji has the Roubaix trademark registered in the US. Specialized owns the Roubaix trademark in Canada.

Fuji first registered the name Roubaix apparently.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby birdbrain » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:59 pm

Dan Richter, owner of Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio, located above the famous Mackay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, says he received a letter from the lawyers of big bicycle maker Specialized several months ago, demanding he change the store’s name because the company owns the trademark on the word Roubaix, which they use to market a brand of road bike
.


Why is anybody allowed to trademark the name of a town. I imagine whatever the flimsy criteria is that it suggests anybody could trademark any town, city, dog breed or whatever that hasn't been trademarked yet. Typical bully behaviour.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby zero » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:27 pm

birdbrain wrote:
Dan Richter, owner of Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio, located above the famous Mackay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, says he received a letter from the lawyers of big bicycle maker Specialized several months ago, demanding he change the store’s name because the company owns the trademark on the word Roubaix, which they use to market a brand of road bike
.


Why is anybody allowed to trademark the name of a town. I imagine whatever the flimsy criteria is that it suggests anybody could trademark any town, city, dog breed or whatever that hasn't been trademarked yet. Typical bully behaviour.


Actually its no bother to make a trademark including a town name at all. Its also not a particularly bothersome one to me, given that Spec has a history of sponsoring teams and entering the race (and winning it) and may well have negotiated rights to the name with the race organizers (or otherwise be naming their bikes with the organizers blessing).

Its unfortunate but the guys business won't tank just because he can't halo off spec's marketing anymore.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby beanspropulsion » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:03 pm

birdbrain wrote:
Its unfortunate but the guys business won't tank just because he can't halo off spec's marketing anymore.


But he isn't.

Doesn't the UCI sanction the race and have a finger in every pie regarding advertising and making cash from towns along a races route?

Surely they don't have a trademark "Paris" either then?

It's not like the brainless woman this week who named her chipshop "Frying Nemo", complete with the actual likeness of Nemo.

http://www.news.com.au/national/south-a ... 6776478332

Now that is copyright infringement.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby thecaptn » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:05 pm

Just because something is legal doesn't automaticaly mean that it's ethical. You'd need to be ethical to understand that though.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby cyclotaur » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:17 pm

zero wrote:Actually its no bother to make a trademark including a town name at all. Its also not a particularly bothersome one to me, given that Spec has a history of sponsoring teams and entering the race (and winning it) and may well have negotiated rights to the name with the race organizers (or otherwise be naming their bikes with the organizers blessing).

Its unfortunate but the guys business won't tank just because he can't halo off spec's marketing anymore.

THIS has nothing to do with it. And I doubt he's 'halo-ing' off Spesh's marketing.

Just as an exercise I entered 'Roubaix' as a search keyword on Bike Exchange and 10 different brands came up, either as model names or referencing the word in their marketing.
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Re: Specialized forces owner to change bike shop’s name

Postby ball bearing » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:52 pm

The guy now has fantastic coverage of who and where he is. Little people couldn't buy that kind of advertising. I bet his business will really take off - I hope. His bikes look different.
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