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Dutch City Bike in Fashion Advertisement Draws Lawsuit

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A Black Bike, Inc., a small bike dealer in New York City, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Southern New York this week against a clothing company, Club Monaco, and a Dutch bicycle company, Koninklijke Gazelle. The suit is centered around an advertising campaign run by Club Monaco in the Spring of 2009, which featured what A Black Bike alleges is one of it’s bicycles, without their permission.

Club Monaco, an affiliate of Ralph Lauren, partnered with Koninklijke Gazelle during the Spring to sell Gazelle bicycles in Club Monaco stores, joining the ranks of several fashion companies who joined forces with bike companies to promote the bikes in their advertising last year. However, in some Club Monaco’s promotional material for their Spring campaign, A Black Bike alleges that their bike was used instead of a Gazelle, confusing consumers.

A Black Bike and Koninklijke Gazelle are both retailers of the popular Dutch city bikes, and the only difference between the bikes appears to be the decal and logo placements.

Above are pictures of the two bicycles taken from each company’s respective website. A Black Bike’s design is on the left, and a Gazelle city bike, which was a partner in the advertising campaign, is on the right.

We were able to dig up one of the ads that ran in Club Monaco’s campaign. Click more to see one of the ads in question.

The key discrepancy seems to be the logo on the head tube. The first image  is via A Black Bike’s website. Note the distinctive A Black Bike headtube logo. The second image is a Club Monaco ad that features a bike which appears to have the A Black Bike headtube logo, but advertises the bike as a Royal Gazelle. The bike also appears to be lacking the decal detail on the Gazelle chainguard seen above. What do you think? Same bike?

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uglyyeti
uglyyeti
12 years ago

That suit seems kind of weak to me, but I’m sure the jury members will enjoy themselves and appreciate the time away from their careers and families. The only victims I see in this one are the unsuspecting dolts that might have gotten a different pretentious crappy overpriced dutch city bike than they’d expected. But I’d suspect the folks that buy their bikes from a bourgeois clothing catalog might be more focused on the shiny bell and picking the proper wicker basket than getting too hung up on head badge placement.

iSAAC
iSAAC
12 years ago

The real difference between the first 2 pictures is that the drive train is on opposite sides.

Ryan
Ryan
12 years ago

It would be good to point out Royal Dutch Gazelle is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the Netherlands.
The brand was created in 1902!

McLarry
McLarry
12 years ago

I need one of those chainguard protectors for my DH bike.

Bob
Bob
12 years ago

gazelle was started in the 1880’s and now is owned by a bank- they don’t even make there own frames anymore- the bikes are s##t. I know for a fact that they ripped off this small company, and there attitude was-“To hell with them- if they don’t like it they can sue- we will crush them like bugs”. The bugs shall inherit the earth!

Corey Keller
Corey Keller
12 years ago

It should be noted that the bicycle from A Black Bike Inc. has a modern unicrown fork, while the one from Gazelle has a lugged crown with a chrome cap. They are quite different in that respect, and might well be from different makers entirely.

Dot
Dot
12 years ago

Suing a company for using your product in an advertisement while representing it as being made by another company isn’t weak, unless you’re perfectly cool with fraud. But hey, you’re more concerned with being snotty about the people who buy the bikes than the actual mechanics of the law. Who is the pretentious one here?

Paul
12 years ago

These two bikes are very different in many details…not majorly apparent when you see a small picture. Bob, Gazelle bikes aren’t s##t. If they were, why are they the # 1 bike brand in The Netherlands… the # 1 cycling country and have been going for over 100 years?

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