backcountry.com Sues Anyone Who Uses "Backcountry" in Name - Page 7 - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 12-18-2019   #61
 
codycleve's Avatar
 
salmon, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
Trademark protection relates to consumer confusion - would a consumer of your products be confused as to the source of a different product. For that reason it only applies to the goods/services you offer - e.g. bikes and bike components for Specialized. Specialized wouldn't have any protection for ski passes. FWIW - I gave it a quick search - Vail has a registered trademark for Epic Pass. (There's a lot of bad information out there on trademarks - just want to keep you guys informed).
Like backcountry babes that sued? They offer womens focused avalanche safety courses. i'm not sure how product confusion would fall in line here.

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Old 12-19-2019   #62
 
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Likelihood of confusion is the standard they would have to prove to a jury to win on trademark infringement at trial. (There are other claims you could bring in a trademark suit but those are much harder to establish)

I'm guessing they filed these lawsuits with the belief that backcountry babes wouldn't fight it and would never get to trial. Trademark lawsuits are pretty expensive.

All things being equal I think backcountry babes would probably win at trial, but there are a lot of things I don't know. At some point, someone at backcountry was convinced this was a good idea. They might have actual examples of customers thinking that those courses were put on by or endorsed by backcountry.com or maybe they're just assholes - i don't know.

I don't want to defend backcountry.com - this is clearly a mistake - I just wanted to say that trademark law kind of forces businesses into these decisions. US Trademark Law incentivizes being litigious, and I think it should be reconsidered. Source - I'm a lawyer who works for a company that owns trademarks and I regularly have to make decisions about potential infringement of those trademarks. (I hope I can make better decisions than backcountry.com did in this case).
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Old 12-19-2019   #63
 
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BrianK - I'm aware that trademarks can be a defend it or lose it situation. Can they not be licensed? Then the owner is still protected and you don't have the bad press of suing people like backcountry babes. In cases where there is actual potential for product confusion then I'm all for defending best you can.
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Old 12-19-2019   #64
 
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
 
Lakewood, Colorado
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IMHO... that trademark should not have been awarded to them in the first place. Maybe thats not how it works...but the term "Backcountry" has been in the popular lexicon for decades and is basically the most used generic term for wilderness areas and recreating in them.

At the end of the day...they decided to go after small businesses that couldn't afford to defend themselves against a huge law firm. They didn't go after equally sized companies like Backcountry Access (avalanche gear)... which is MUCH more likely to be confused with backcountry.com's retail business. BCA is also backed by a huge parent company with lawyers...so why aren't they suing a bunch of small businesses too?

They decided to hire a huge law firm that was sue happy (no surprise) and when they got caught it backfired on them.
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Old 12-19-2019   #65
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffro View Post
BrianK - I'm aware that trademarks can be a defend it or lose it situation. Can they not be licensed? Then the owner is still protected and you don't have the bad press of suing people like backcountry babes. In cases where there is actual potential for product confusion then I'm all for defending best you can.
Yes, you could license it and protect your mark. Another solution is to enter a coexistence agreement where the other group recognizes your rights in your trademark and agrees to only use the trademark in certain circumstances that you both agree on - like offering avalanche classes. You could do either without fees or with a nominal fee. Some attorneys would argue that both of these options dilute the power of the trademark - but in this situation a coexistence agreement would have been a much better choice.


Electric-Mahem - they probably shouldn't have gotten the mark, but it's really easy to get a trademark at the USPTO. Part of the reason that they are being aggressive is likely because they realize their mark is unlikely to stand up to court scrutiny. If the can show concrete examples where they have enforced their trademark it would help in a future lawsuit against a bigger group like BCA.
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Old 12-19-2019   #66
 
student
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erroneous information

Briank,

While I respect your input from a "legal" stance, I do want to point out your history of flip-flopping on information.

Case in point, you have stated that this last spring, you styled all of the rapids on the grand in your 13 foot boat. However, there is undeniable proof on the youtubes that you flipped in Lava. Which is it?

While I recognize this has very little to do with backcountry.com, your history as an unreliable source is irrefutable.
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Old 12-19-2019   #67
 
Ashland, Oregon
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Thanks for that info. I can and will do without this kind of corporation.
I just had a chat with a sales rep at Backcountry, poor thing, sounded overworked, underpaid, and tired of hearing about this.
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