Nick, get a cease and desist letter yet? (Backcountry.com Discussion)

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IntrepidXJ

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Backcountry.com sues anyone who uses its namesake. Is it bullying or just business?


Backcountry.com a year ago filed for trademarks protecting the word “backcountry” for all sorts of outdoor gear as the online retailer launched its first-ever branded jackets, skis and apparel. Now the e-commerce behemoth is suing small business owners who have trademarked the word “backcountry.”
“My feeling is that nobody should have the right to the term ‘backcountry,’” said Jordan Phillips, who launched his American-made jeans company Backcountry Denim in 2017 and was sued this year in California federal court by Backcountry.com. “It’s like trying to trademark ‘road’ or ‘beach’ or ‘mountain.’”

The 23-year-old Utah e-retailer — founded by ski bums but owned since 2015 by private equity firm TSG Partners — this year deployed California’s IPLA Legal Advisors, the nation’s largest trademark-only law firm, in four lawsuits targeting small businesses that used the word backcountry in their name. The U.S. District Court lawsuits follow several years of the e-retailer filing dozens of lawsuits and protests with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office targeting businesses that have trademarked the word backcountry.
Backcountry.com, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the flurry of lawsuits.
IPLA attorney John H. Kim last year filed for trademarks on behalf of Backcountry.com for hundreds of pieces of gear, including tailgate pads for bikes in pick-up beds, climbing ropes, crash pads for rock climbing, avalanche probes, ski goggles, ski helmets, bike tools, water bottles, bedding, camp chairs, duffel bags, dog leashes, climbing skins, chalk bags and women’s clothing.

Last year Backcountry.com announced it was joining venerable outdoor manufacturers Flylow, Black Diamond, Smartwool and skimaker DPS to launch its first-ever namesake lifestyle and backcountry ski touring collections. The new products carry the company’s signature white mountain goat.

Earlier this year the company announced even more goat-branded stuff, with Backcountry.com-branded climbing, mountain biking, winter apparel, travel and outdoor lifestyle clothing bearing the Backcountry logo. This year’s expansion included collaborations with brands Black Diamond and Burton.

The e-retailer sued Utah bikemaker Backcountry eBikes in February, and the company settled in May and is now known as Backcou eBikes. In July the website sued Constellation Outdoor Education, which trademarked the name Backcountry Babes for its Colorado-born, women-focused avalanche education clinics. That case was settled less than three weeks after Backcountry.com sued. The settlement deals are sealed but the Backcountry Babes website and trademark is still live.

Backcountry.com filed for its first registration of a service mark in 2004 for “retail store services, mail order services and computerized online retail store services.” It secured the trademark in 2007...
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Parma

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Let me know if you do get a letter @Nick, I'd love to hear their rationale for likelihood of confusion.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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I'm on my way to Chicago so I won't be able to check my PO box until next week. I guess it's time to start thinking of new names/domains for if/when the hammer comes down.
 

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Wanderlust073

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Sent them an email too. Shop on their site a lot.
 

Wanderlust073

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Jackson

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A lot of the other sites/FB groups I'm a part of are pretty worked up over this. Seems like maybe all the negative feedback being sent their way is having the desired effect:

Those are some comically weak lines from the CEO.

"We were never holistically trying to own the term 'backcountry.'"

“Sometimes we come across organizations using our brand to market their products and services that are really similar to ours. There are a ton of different categories. We were only ever seeking specific and relevant rights for specific uses of the term."

Right. Because multiple nonprofits are trying to use the big impressive name of Backcountry.com to market similar products and services.
 

Wanderlust073

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Hard to say if he's a liar or just dumb (or ignorant of what his corporate overlords are up to). If he was really surprised by the seemingly inevitable backlash, I'm leaning towards the latter. As the saying goes, Never assume malice where stupidity may suffice.
 

b.stark

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Competitivecyclist.com is their bike sales site, fyi.
 

MikeM

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This morning I received an email from Backcountry asking if I wanted to join their new "exclusive" rewards program. 10% back on full price purchases (sounds a lot like REI). I'm not sure if this is a way to turn around all the backlash from the past few weeks, or if this was part of a larger wholesale change that was already in the plans for the company?
 

IntrepidXJ

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This morning I received an email from Backcountry asking if I wanted to join their new "exclusive" rewards program. 10% back on full price purchases (sounds a lot like REI). I'm not sure if this is a way to turn around all the backlash from the past few weeks, or if this was part of a larger wholesale change that was already in the plans for the company?
I got the same email from them weeks ago before this whole thing started.
 

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