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Backcountry.com (alpinetrek.co.uk) trademark lawsuit

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The mind boggles that a company thinks it can register the word “backcountry” as a trademark. Whilst it’s an American company (European part of the company is alpinetrek) certainly sets a worrying and rather odd precedent.

https://coloradosun.com/2019/10/31/backcountry-com-sues-anyone-who-uses-its-namesake-is-it-bullying-or-just-business/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Taking the O out of Backcountry.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Easy, Just tweet them saying their stupid litigation has lost them a customer.

It is just an american thing. I know of various patents, and trademarks in the USA that are laughed at elsewhere. Indeed, in my industry a major global company has a patent in the USA. It is easier to pay them £90k that fight it in court. If this was a real global patent then they would enforce it but it is use the USA Patent office granting patents for no reason, apart form making them cash.
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Been reading about this earlier, ridiculous that someone granted it as a trademark. The fact they are taking legal action against anyone using it rolling eyes businesses who's annual turnover is probably less than a day of backcountry's

Its a generic term, and should really been connected to their goat icon, as a trademark.

Imagine if Mountain Hardwear, were allowed the same rights ?
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It was highlighted on Wildsnow.com as well. Their main sponsor was served with papers, and they are facing a lawsuit.

https://www.wildsnow.com/27107/lawsuits-raise-the-question-who-owns-backcountry/#more-27107

Seeing as huge numbers of outdoors companies include backcountry in their name, Backcountry must have a lot of money to fight potentially hundreds of cases.
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Ridiculous! Given this example of US trademark law I wouldn't be surprised if some US company trademarked the words "snow" and "ski" rolling eyes
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Whatever next, people will be trademarking the names of fruit.
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Alastair Pink wrote:
Ridiculous! Given this example of US trademark law I wouldn't be surprised if some US company trademarked the words "snow" ..,


Head?

snowHead
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Bones wrote:
Been reading about this earlier, ridiculous that someone granted it as a trademark.


You can register any word as a trademark wrt your business. Whether the trademark stands depends on a number of factors

In the case of Apple the word is a random word not associated with computers. If any other computer company started using the word the courts would find against them because there is no intrinsic connection between computers and fruit. When apple inc moved into music they had an issue with Apple corp who were already a music publisher. The dispute was settled out of court with Apple Inc reportedly paying Apple Corp 500 million USD.

If you were an apple grower and registered apple as your trademark it wouldn't stand in court.

I could set up a laptop manufacturing business with Snow as the TM and that would almost certainly stand if someone else started manufacturing computer equipment with the same name.

In the UK Snow and Rock is a registered trademark. Three common words. You couldn't use the same combination to say set up a ski and climbing tour operator.

Another case would be Locomotive Software in Dorking. The UK judge ruled against them as he said that the term was too generic and could apply to any software written for locomotive management.

You can use a made up word.

In the case of backcountry, it is a compound noun but Websters give the first use as 1746 so it is clearly in common usage to define wilderness type areas. It appears to be somewhat related to the items Backcountry.com is trying to claim trademark rights so the claim appears on the face of it to be weak but it would have to be tested in court, which is probably why Backcountry have avoided firms with deep pockets.
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AL9000 wrote:
Alastair Pink wrote:
Ridiculous! Given this example of US trademark law I wouldn't be surprised if some US company trademarked the words "snow" ..,


Head?

snowHead


If they tried to trademark that I'd give them a mouthful. Happy
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AL9000, Already been done Toofy Grin
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davidof wrote:
If you were an apple grower and registered apple as your trademark it wouldn't stand in court.

Are you sure about that? If I remember correctly, Apple was actually going to court because someone in Germany was selling apples and had name "Apple something" (don't remember real name) and picture of apple for logo. I mean it was similar to Apple's logo, but how the hell could be picture of apple different then what Apple's logo (picture of apple) is? No idea what was result of that lawsuit, but I would say regardless of where, it's pretty damn hard to go to lawsuit against company with endless money resources.
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primoz wrote:
davidof wrote:
If you were an apple grower and registered apple as your trademark it wouldn't stand in court.

Are you sure about that? If I remember correctly, Apple was actually going to court because someone in Germany was selling apples and had name "Apple something" (don't remember real name) and picture of apple for logo. I mean it was similar to Apple's logo, but how the hell could be picture of apple different then what Apple's logo (picture of apple) is? No idea what was result of that lawsuit, but I would say regardless of where, it's pretty damn hard to go to lawsuit against company with endless money resources.


yes I am.

You are referring to the Apfelkind dispute. Apple's lawyers seemed to believe that Apfelkind's German trademark registration was too broad. Apple wanted Apfelkind to sign a contract saying they wouldn't infringe on Apple's business activities. Apfelkind declined and Apple Inc dropped the claim because they probably thought they'd lose in the German courts. Yes it's bullying tactics by Apple, but when have big, powerful companies not engaged in bullying?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
And then there was Apple Inc Vs Apple music (The Beatles)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
GlasgowCyclops wrote:
And then there was Apple Inc Vs Apple music (The Beatles)


I refer the right Hon Gentleman to a previous post on this thread by @davidof, quote "When apple inc moved into music they had an issue with Apple corp who were already a music publisher. The dispute was settled out of court with Apple Inc reportedly paying Apple Corp 500 million USD." Madeye-Smiley
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There comes a point where a copyrighted company or product name is substituted for the generic name for that item, such as:

Hoover - vacuum cleaner
Biro - ball point pen
Sellotape - sticky tape
WiFi - Any device complying with the IEEE 802.11x standard

As mentioned in posts above backcountry was a term referring to the outdoors long before Backcountry.com started using it. If any company world wide started calling themselves Backcountry Supplies, or Backcountry Outfitters etc, then yes there would be confusion. There are a few cases where there is a .com and a .co.uk with the same name that appear to be completely unrelated, and co-exist happily together.

What are we going to see next:

Freeride
Adventure
Powder
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davidof wrote:
...Apfelkind declined and Apple Inc dropped the claim because they probably thought they'd lose in the German courts. Yes it's bullying tactics by Apple, but when have big, powerful companies not engaged in bullying?
Yeah, I always kind of wanted to be taken to court by someone like Apple. Imagine the costs to them of litigation.

I'm never completely convinced by this type of story, which doesn't smell quite right.

In the past I've been able to find records of US court cases - does anyone have an actual link to any of these cases?
You can find a list of US Trademarks with the word "Backcountry" in them here: http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/ There are 138 entries, some claimed by backcountry.com, others not.

Even though it's essentially an American word, the EU has this stuff nailed down: https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#basic/1+1+1+1/100+100+100+100/backcountry
Again, backcountry.com have some stuff there, but they're late to the party. I seriously doubt that you could do anything silly/ vexatious with any of this .


PowderAddict wrote:
What are we going to see next:
Further stories of apparently outrageous US litigation without much connexion to reality, perhaps?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@philwig, I think the issue here is nothing has actually gone in front of a judge yet. The allegations are that they are going after small businesses that do not have the resources to litigate - hence the absence of a public paper trail. They have not gone after Backcountry Access (owned by Kohlberg & Co.) which very much does.
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I read article. If alpinetrek.co.uk is backcountry, they will not see my money!!!
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@kedsky
From the alpinetrek web site
Quote:
You're probably wondering why you've landed here of all places. Well, as of 25.05.2018, Backcountry is no longer available outside the U.S. due to GDPR regulations. But, there's a huge upside: Allow us to introduce Backcountry's European sister site - Alpinetrek.co.uk! Here, you'll find all the goodies you would've otherwise found at Backcountry, including the best outdoor gear, expert advice and the most impeccable service - all within the E.U.
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@geoffers thx! shame. Customer service and staff very friendly!
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Quote:

You can find a list of US Trademarks with the word "Backcountry" in them here: http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/ There are 138 entries, some claimed by backcountry.com, others not.

Does that means some of those business can sue backcountry.com and demand they stop using the word? Puzzled
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kedsky wrote:
@geoffers thx! shame. Customer service and staff very friendly!


+1...and knowledgable and give good advice!
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One UK company that may well be in the firing line will be “backcountryuk.com”, as they appear to be unrelated to the US organisation.
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PowderAdict wrote:
One UK company that may well be in the firing line will be “backcountryuk.com”, as they appear to be unrelated to the US organisation.


If they are a UK based company trading in the UK with no US sales then does backcountry.com's US Patent Office trademark claim have any legal jurisdiction? Puzzled
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Quote:
One UK company that may well be in the firing line will be “backcountryuk.com”

They used to be called "BaseCamp, Ilkely" and changed their name several years ago.

A highly recommended shop, particularly if you're into ski touring etc.. have purchased kit from them several times
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Their Facebook page is an interesting read, seems virtually every post they make has a list of comments from people slamming them.
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T-Mobile says it owns pink, German court agrees. US firm has to stop using Pink.

https://adage.com/article/digital/t-mobile-says-it-owns-exclusive-rights-color-magenta/2212556

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 You know it makes sense.
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Alastair Pink wrote:
PowderAdict wrote:
One UK company that may well be in the firing line will be “backcountryuk.com”, as they appear to be unrelated to the US organisation.


If they are a UK based company trading in the UK with no US sales then does backcountry.com's US Patent Office trademark claim have any legal jurisdiction? Puzzled


if it registers a worldwide trademark it does, the first step on that process is registering an US trademark.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
davidof wrote:
T-Mobile says it owns pink, German court agrees.


They don't own me! Wink Toofy Grin
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Looks like they've realised they've made a blunder and have dropped the lawsuit ...

https://www.outsideonline.com/2404984/backcountry-com-lawsuit-backlash-explained
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@geoffers, only one of the lawsuits (/cease and desists) though I think?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Standard corporate damage limitation BS. Guess the social media backlash was starting to worry them. More convincing as a mea culpa if they were offering compensation to the small businesses they'd bullied into rebranding.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I think the social media backlash will continue, this really ticked people off.
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Done


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 7-11-19 15:28; edited 1 time in total
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They seem to have backed down.
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Looks like the usual corporate trait of megalomania mixed with sociopathic behaviour. Complete cack handed approach by a deep pocketed entity threatening probably indefensible litigation and hoping the other lot blinks.
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geoffers wrote:
Looks like they've realised they've made a blunder and have dropped one lawsuit ...

https://www.outsideonline.com/2404984/backcountry-com-lawsuit-backlash-explained
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The boys over on Blister Review are pulling no punches:

https://blisterreview.com/industry-news/boycott-backcountry-com
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I kid ye not, Steamboat Resort in Colorado trademarked the phrase "Champagne Powder" and they go legal with any resort who might use the phrase in their promo material, even resorts owned by the same holding company.

Source is that OH and I had a few dinners with the PR director of said resort!
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