Many of you have probably heard about Specialized's latest trademark debate ("debate" is putting it nicely). If not, here's the quick, story-book version you can tell your kids for bedtime.
Once upon a time (a few years ago), in a land far, far away (Canada) there was a mighty prince (Dan Richter, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan) whom after slaying many dragons pursued a lovely life in a peaceful, little bike shop named, Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio. It was a good life. He sold people bikes, rims, wheels and happiness.
Recently a cloud descended over Prince Dan's shop. An evil Sorcerer (named Specialized) came and sued him for the rights to his shop name--particularly the word "Roubaix". That's right. "Roubaix". The word. Apparently the sorcerer thought the word to be HIS and his alone!! He NEEDED that word for a very special spell that would first control the bike industry, then Paris, then the world!!!
The kingdom had seen the Sorcerer Specialized at work before. He had tried the same kind of thing a few years back when he went after two princes who started the Village of Volagi. Thankfully the village stood it's ground and only had to pay $1 to banish the sorcerer from their land. This created peace and happiness in the kingdom. Life was seemingly beautiful again...or so they all THOUGHT.
Prince Dan was obviously crushed. It appeared that he would have to rename his humble little store and transfer its website’s URL to Specialized. [Cue shouting and sounds of rioting, Stage Left:] There was a public out-cry to which the Sorcerer's legal counsel replied in an email (it's quite a sophisticated kingdom), “A simple trademark search would have prevented this, We are required to defend or lose our trademark registration.”
[Crickets and stray coughs].
But the people rallied. They blogged, they tweeted, they canceled orders. And as of today, it appears Prince Dan may yet again, come out on top of a war. The trademark owner, (King AFI) says the Evil Sorcerer was "out of line". Hmmmm. We hope for a happy ending, but there's still some shifty language in the latest press releases.
For today's coffee talk, read Stephen Frothingham's latest post from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and weigh in. What's your prediction? Will Prince Dan win? Or will he be caught up in an endless amount of red tape? And if he IS caught up in the red tape, will he then be sued by Specialized again for touching the color red? Or is that considered Double Jeopardy? And please answer the biggest question I have which is this: where can Specialized go from here? I can almost see the headline about two years from now: "Specialized sues cute Parisian kitten for playing with ball of red yarn upon cobblestones."