Specialized the bully company?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by bison33, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. bison33

    bison33 New Member

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    Read this then offer an opinion. http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2013/12/07/war-veteran-forced-to-change-bike-shops-name-after-threat-from-u-s-bike-giant-specialized/

    My thought is that Specialized are a**holes. As a veteran, I know all too well how PTSD can affect a person and all around them. What he did is commendable as many are still in that place and a way out seems impossible. For these clowns to threaten to sue over a name which they did not come up with is asinine. Specialized is a company I will never buy from. I will pass this around to my network of friends and so on and an e-mail to their useless PR types. Social media is a great thing and it seems companies need to be reminded of that.
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I rode and raced a Tarmac SL3 for a season. A very nice bike which I sold after getting laid off. Back in the day I had an S-works Stump Jumper, another fine bicycle. After the Volagi incident it was doubtful I'd ever own another Specialized. Unfortunately this story highlights an MO which appears to be par for the course for a company who's bikes I'll never ride again.
     
  3. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    given that us laws make it necessary for a company to defend their names vigorously in order to prevent others from profiting from the brand name, regardless of the nobility of the cause, can we really fault specialized for doing so? suppose he had opted for the disney bicycle shop featuring mickey mouse cycling products, I would expect disney to swoop in with their lawyers as they have done in the past to prevent the shop from using the names. specialized has been working at bicycles and related products for a few decades now and has to protect their market reputation.
     
  4. steve

    steve Administrator
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    Do you think it's as black and white as that? Roubaix is a city in France, it's also know for a bike race and has a very rich cycling heritage. Surely people aren't going to mistaken his cafe name for some road bike they sell in relatively small quantities compared to the rest of their range.

    It looks very defendable to me, he could even draw a huge amount of publicity and good will from it. The cafe owner should start a defence fund, it'd get legs because 'average Joe/Jo' don't like corporate bullies.

    It'd be interesting if that little bike race on the rural roads of northern France pulled the same stunt on them.
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    The term Roubaix was around before Specialized, and in this particular context has nothing to do with the Specialized brand or Specialized Bicycle Components per se. Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney. Whether trademarked or not, Roubaix has a different meaning for most than some bike model. This is not about protecting any reputation, that's the BS being spewed by the litigators. This is about being a douchebag simply because one is legally entitled. That was my interpretation of the $1 award regarding Volagi. In the scenario you describe, Disney would be well within their rights, legally and ethically.
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    This thing is blowing up on Specialized FB page with mostly negative comments toward the company.

    As someone that considered going a Trademark for my blog as I was starting to consider selling branded items I can understand some of this, but in my gut feeling I too feel like Specialized is being a bully toward the shop owner.

    I wrote my opinion about it earlier on my blog and it is just my opinion.
    http://thecyclingaddiction.blogspot.com/2013/12/dare-we-say-roubaix.html

    I agree with Steve that my initial thought on Roubaix is that it belongs to the French town before anyone else. I have a pair of Giordana Roubaix bib tights and most of us first think of the race classic.

    IMO - the guy using Roubaix does not diminish the greatness of Specialized, but Specialized going after the guy when so many others use Roubaix just leaves many with a sour feeling toward the biking giant as being a business bully driven by dollars and not by the passion of their product. Does anyone really think a once obscure shop owner of Cafe Roubaix is going to cause Specialized any more financial harm than Giordana using Roubaix to name a pair of tights?
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "can we really fault specialized for doing so?"

    Yes.

    As Starbux recently found out. Starbucks lost a lawsuit against Charbucks.
     
  8. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    like I said, corporations defend their brand names for a reason. whether you or I feel that the company is being dickish we've long since passed the point where us corporations allow for the use of their logos or brands without pushing back or taking compensation. hurray, capitalism.
     
  9. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CAMPYBOB .
    "can we really fault specialized for doing so?"

    Yes.

    It looks like some fat guy from the Legal Department found out about that shop and started a lawsuit to be "productive" or something...

    I doubt that the person who made that lawsuit has much to do with cycling... Or even knows that Roubaix is a city in France... (not to mention about the race...)

    It does sound pretty weird actually... Maybe they will sue the city hall of Roubaix too for having parked bicycles outside the city hall building... [​IMG]

    I hope I wont have to talk with that guy if I have a fork broken and ask for a warranty repair... I might have a photograph from France on my laptop... Not from Roubaix but still... [​IMG] Better delete "Ruby" from the Kaiser Chiefs too... [​IMG] I had a friend in Uni called "Rob" he might be in trouble too and will have to change it to Florence...

    What I dont get is how the Star Ship Enterprise got away with it from Trek. I mean "Star Trek"? [​IMG] Maybe because they are in intergalactic space...

    Is there a drink and driving law in Space? There isnt one in the Arctic... [​IMG]

    I doubt that the lawsuit will get past the initial hearing... But if the guy has to hire a lawyer that might be a bit bad... I dont think that he has to hire a lawyer though, it really sounds like a case created by error...

    PS
    [email protected] lawsuit a$sholes... At least around here they finally changed the minimum administration fee for a lawsuit to 150euros... No more nonsense lawsuits from my demented neighbour over cans of paint with a tenner... But big companies I guess that can still make lawsuits easily...

    Quote: As Starbux recently found out. Starbucks lost a lawsuit against Charbucks.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    now now conservative posters. we can't have you making it seem like us corporations file supercilious nuisance suits.
     
  11. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Sorry, but I am still going to buy a Roubaix - no one said life is fair. I feel for the guy in Calgary, and I do think it's stretching it to trademark a place name for a product. But as someone who has worked on probably 3-4 dozen incorporations, I can say it's SOP to make sure your corporate name, trademarks, and so forth aren't previously taken. But, I love my current Specialized and am looking forward to the new one.
     
  12. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Isn't this debacle taking place in Canada - i.e. Specialized Canada knobbling a bike shop up there. Do they use the US patent and trademark laws?

    It'd be interesting to see in Specialized in the US goes after Roubaix Bicycle Co. in Colorado... or even the Roubaix velodrome in Roubaix, France :p

    Can we fault Specialized for doing this? Should it be possible to take a trademark from the name of a place that was already famous within a given sport, especially one that a company is about 6,000 miles away from?
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "no one said life is fair."

    Truth.

    Vote with your wallet.
     
  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "hurray, capitalism."

    If Specialized would have been socialist, they would have confiscated the bicycle shop and inventory, executed the Canadian owner without a trial and sent his family off to die in 're-education' camps.

    To each according to his specialized needs, Comrade Kim Jung Kook.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "Do they use the US patent and trademark laws?"

    We annexed Canada in 1974 and made it the 51st State. Well, all but that part that speaks French.
     
  16. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    From what I read yesterday Specialized only has a Trademark on Roubaix in Canada. Fuji holds the Trademark in the USA.

    No doubt the owner of the shop should have done more diligence regarding the name of his shop, but I bet anything he was not naming his shop after a bike frame and more likely he named it after the famed race classic. When most of us hear Roubaix there comes a mental list of association and I would imagine most of us cycling enthusiast think of the classic race and location as the top pick and then we start grouping products based on the name.

    Even though there is a legal right to protect the name of Roubaix, I still struggle with the idea that his shop is not called Roubaix. It is Café Roubaix and that is not the same and I doubt it distracts anyone from the Specialized brand. Before all of this blew up I bet 99% of us didn't even know Café Roubaix even existed at all.


    A Canadian Trademark attorney spoke up on a different forum and stated that he believes the shop owner could win this case, but more than likely his legal fees to fight Specialized would be over $150,000 and the owner stated that he simply does not have the money to go to court. And there is the risk that he may lose the case. The trademark attorney stated that there are probably plenty of attorneys that would take this case pro bono just to fight a high profile company and add to their resume. He said what could help him win is the overwhelming sympathy he is getting from a massive population and that does sway the judges at times.

    I watched the Facebook pages for Specialized and Specialized Canada yesterday and there was an amazing amount of people posting against Specialized and whether Specialized totally in the right for the aggressive legal action they should not be surprised that this type of action comes at a public relation cost.

    _____________

    Motown, I don't disagree with your thoughts and the Roubaix frame is very nice and I certainly would not give it up or not get the new frame. Most of the people posting on Facebook stating that they are selling their Specialized bikes because of this and I bet anything that most will not. I have top of the line Specialized shoes and I am not about to throw them in the garbage can. I also have their gloves, leg and arm warmers and some other things. But I am very disappointed that they showed their true colors as a cold hearted corporate entity to a small guy that has a shop name Café Roubaix and that name has absolutely no harm to the corporate giant no more than the pair of Giordana Roubaix tights that I own has an impact on their profit margin.
     
  17. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    at some point specialized and the shop owner come to an agreement over the use of the name. which is to say that at some point specialized has satisfied the requirement to defend its brands and trademarks.
     
  18. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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  19. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "Because I @#$%ing hate bullies."

    [​IMG]


    My guess...just going by his appearance...is that he was repeatedly abused on the school playground by "bullies".

    OOCS...Specialized sets up Cafe Roubaix with a 'Premier Status' dealer, provides signage that violates Canada's 'Sense of Good Taste' laws and Cafe Roubaix gets a name upgrade to "Freedom Fries Cycles".
     
  20. geebe

    geebe New Member

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    I used to own a Fuji Roubaix and I never heard about Specialized going after Fuji. Did Fuji own that first? Did they go after Specialized? No more Specialized products for me becasue of this and I quit supporting Trek years ago because of the Lemond/Armstrong fiasco.
     
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