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The Empire Strikes Back, War Vet Threatened by Specialized Over Name

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Cafe Roubaix Bicyle ShopCafe Roubaix Bicycles is a small bike shop located in historic downtown Cochrane, Alberta. Like many shops, it got it’s start in a garage. Where owner Dan Richter started by building high end custom wheels for friends and local racers.

A twenty year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, opening Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio was the culmination of a life long passion, and a great way to force himself to meet new people. His military career, after stints in Afghanistan, was brought to an end due to post traumatic stress disorder.

His shop, which opened in March, caters to road cyclists. It’s named after the famous 117 year old Paris-Roubaix race, because Dan wants every client to “roll away experiencing the same level of service and attention that every European professional demands from team mechanics, coaches, and equipment providers.”

The problem is….

Cafe Roubaix WheelsSpecialized Bicycles is requesting Cafe Roubaix Bicycles change it’s name or else they’ll huff and they’ll puff and they’ll sue due to trademark infringement. While Dan’s lawyer claims he has a case, since the name is an icon of bike culture, and there are dozens of products with the name e.g. the Fuji Roubaix Road Bike and Challenge Roubaix Tires. But to pursue this case would cost an estimated $150,000, so the small shop must capitulate.

According to Specialized Canada, the company is defending it’s legally owned trademark because it is legally required to defend or lose it.

For Dan, changing his stores name is a lot more than just a sign. It’s about rebuilding a reputation he has carefully cultivated building custom wheels and providing exceptional customer service. You can find directions to Dan’s shop, pick up a jersey, or just learn more about his shop here.

Via Calgary Herald

 

 

 

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Parkcyc
Parkcyc
9 years ago

Specialized b.s.
Why should a small biz owner incur additional expenses in legal fees and signage and advertising?
Roubaix it trademarked?? That is utter hogwash. Let me guess: Dan Richter is not a Specialized dealer.

Bully tactics from a bully. I have my fill of reading about bullies with Armstrong’s press parade.
Just like LA, I choose to ignore and vote with my dollars by going elsewhere.

btw, good point about FUJI ROUBAIX. What about VELOFLEX ROUBAIX, GIORDANA ROUBAIX, TIFOSI ROUBAIX, CAPO ROUBAIX, ENDURA ROUBAIX, LOUIS GARNEAU ROUBAIX

There are a lot of fundraiser, non-profits and sportif events using the name ROUBAIX, selling shirts and gear. Sue them too?

Specialized can go pound sand.

Nathan Graeme
Nathan Graeme
9 years ago

F**CK specialized THEY SUCK REGARDLESS OF THEIR [deleted] POSITION.
LIKE THIS GUY IS A REAL THREAT. THEY SHOULD GIVE THIS GUY FREE PRODUCT FOR HIS SHOP, NOT TRY TO SHUT HIM UP OR DOWN.
specialized HAS FORGOTTEN FROM WHERE THEY COME.
A SMALL NOTHING [deleted] COMPANY. WITHOUT Merida Bikes THEY WOULD STILL BE A NOTHING COMPANY. THEY WOULD OF ENDED UP JUST LIKE CENTURION BIKES AND OTHERS.
specialized should stop exploiting cheap Asian labor and building [deleted] WIND TEST TUNNELS. STILLING DESIGNS AND TECHNOLOGIES FROM SMALLER ENTITIES THAT CANT DEFEND THEMSELVES IS WHAT specialized specializes in

ry
ry
9 years ago

I love my tarmac, but this is ridiculous! I was thinking about getting an s-works frame, but I’ll probably get something like a Ritte instead now..

Stan
Stan
9 years ago

Shame on you Specialized.

As an avid cyclist, when the word Roubaix is mentioned, the bicycle company Specialized is the last thing to come to mind… Seems to me Roubaix is made famous by the Paris-Roubaix race not a bicycle company.

Maybe the town in France that goes by this name should sue Specialized for trademarking it!

Pete
Pete
9 years ago

What does him being a veteran have anything to do with this story? Spec overstepping its bounds and a small bike shop fighting back is all that should be discussed. Am I supposed to have empathy for they guy because he’s a vet or because he’s a small bike shop being beat down by the man.

Alex
Alex
9 years ago

Absolutely never buying another Specialized product. Ever. Total bullshit. Going to pass this story on to my cycling friends as well.

Nathan Graeme
Nathan Graeme
9 years ago

STEALING DESIGNS … SORRY FOR THE MISSPELLING.. IN A FIT OF RAGE OVER THIS

MG
MG
9 years ago

Specialized just lost a family of supporters. Not that they give a S#!T….

Tim A
Tim A
9 years ago

Pete,

+1 – going for the easy sympathy points doesn’t help the author’s case. Vets don’t deserve special consideration here any more than boy scouts, mothers of four, or members of the clergy.

That said, if a friend came to me with that as their proposed shop name (as they have in the past), I would have warned against tempting Spez.

Jib's Mom
Jib's Mom
9 years ago

How about BikeRumor not featuring any Specialized product reviews in the future? Given the title of the article I’m assuming BR is siding with the shop owner on this.

Devin
9 years ago

100% shame on Specialized. Lemme guess “Drop the the or become a Specialized dealer- your choice.”

How about all the different companies that use the name Roubaix band together to get it removed from the trademark registration?

Bill
Bill
9 years ago

The whole “We have to protect our patent” as an excuse to sue someone, when the “patent” is the name of a city, and a race that ends in that city, means they shouldn’t have a patent on it in the first place. But thank you US patent law for being completely backwards and granting it in the first place.

Neil
Neil
9 years ago

Specialized is the best. They are a global company protecting their name. Get over it people they will continue on making money and all you knobs will buy inferior bikes. It capitalism and they will win!!!!

Bob
Bob
9 years ago

I am really sick of this stupidity. Specialized should be sued by the shop owner for damages. I would help crowd fund. I even own 3 specialized bikes. No more. Cannondale is likely my next bike.

chris
chris
9 years ago

I don’t understand why this frivolous litigation even appeals to Specialized. Or is their legal team just so bored that they have to create these legal battles to keep their jobs and get paid??

Jason
Jason
9 years ago

Its behaviour like this that finishes company’s not make them!

Joey B
Joey B
9 years ago

Specialized – So far you are biggest Scrooge this Christmas season. I am so glad I don’t ride your bikes and because of these tactics, never will. Maybe these tactics and others like them are the reason many of the Specialized employees have left for other opportunities.

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

Of course you can disregard any posts about “US Patent” or “US trademark”.. It’s Canada and I am not sure how their system works. (I do know even the Canadians spell “a lot” as two words 😉

MaLóL
MaLóL
9 years ago

Not only I do hate Specialized, for the [deleted] they are, I also do hate any Specialized bike owner, cause they feed them and they are so stupid to buy their products, which are based on marketing. [deleted]

Hehehehehehe, [deleted].

Eyal
Eyal
9 years ago

@Neil brands do get tarnished, this story is massively exploding on the interwebs! The difference between this brand and BP (deepwater horizon) is people have many more choices for cycling gear, and trust me it will show on their bottom line.

Specialized almost went bankrupt several years ago. This time, it might happen for sure if they don’t stop from suing this little guy.

Lance David
Lance David
9 years ago

I hope Specialized reads this because I have purchased my last Specialized bike or any other product with their name on it. It seems there should be some solution allowing the shop to keep it’s name while still letting Specialized protect their copyrighted name if they really wanted to find it. What a bunch of coprorate douch bags.

James
James
9 years ago

This seems like a good way to support this shop. Buy a shirt! Limited edition due to legal action: http://www.caferoubaix.ca/on-line-store.php#!/~/product/category=4303033&id=20294359

Nns
Nns
9 years ago

Seems ticky tacky. Maybe just tacky. Should start a defense fund for the guy.

brrider
brrider
9 years ago

This…this just doesn’t seem that smart on the part of Specialized. They will almost certainly lose more customers over the bad will generated by this story (and similar ones posted to velonews and cyclingnews) than they would have lost to confused customers purchasing a set of cafe roubaix WHEELS instead of a specialized roubaix BIKE. Perhaps we should all go and buy a Volagi just to stick it to them.

Pro Lite Boss
Pro Lite Boss
9 years ago

You can’t trade mark places. Roubaix is a place. Then there are co existence agreements. This is such bs & what kind of lawyer has he got ? Oh yes one like all the rest that drags things out to make money.

Pete
Pete
9 years ago

Embarrassed to say I once bought two Specialized brand bottle cages. Cant stand the thought that I gave these pukes a single cent. I will be spreading the word with all of my cycling peers as well. I hear they have a patent on the letter “S” as well. Maybe I best go back and count how many times I used it in this paragraph.

spokejunky
spokejunky
9 years ago

Richard Cabezas.

Pete
Pete
9 years ago

Almost forgot to include the fact that the cages were absolute garbage. But then again….if they didn’t suck quite so bad I’d have never found my beloved Arundels. Thank you Specialized.

Dude
Dude
9 years ago

Does anybody know what happened to the 650b sinyard hitler video? It said the user took it down but I’m wondering if specialized made him take it down. It was the best.

specializedsucks
specializedsucks
9 years ago

I cant wait to tell every customer that comes into the shop about this….I want to punch Specialized in the face!

chaosquest
chaosquest
9 years ago

Specialized is So out of their F-ing mind with this.
This post is going to go viral all over the net.
Specialized is going to get loads of angry consumers over this.
So glad I don’t use any of their products.

Jon
Jon
9 years ago

I have never seen specialized use Roubaix in a store name these and with cafe. There is no confusion. I bet specialized could have come to an agreement and fostered some good will but they just use threats instead.
Just Say NO to Specialized!

Haya
Haya
9 years ago

That’s it, I’m gonna buy yet another fake Tarmac from China.

Harry
Harry
9 years ago

This is a stupid lawsuit. I’ll bet it would make an even bigger difference if everyone let Specialized know how they feel in addition to posting it here.

Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
15130 Concord Circle
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
United States of America

(877) 808-8154
(408) 779-6229

@iamspecialized

https://www.facebook.com/specializedbicycles

Chainwhipped
Chainwhipped
9 years ago

Dear Specialized: What if you spent your legal budget on U.S.-based frame builders? Silly, I know. I guess you have to protect trademarks because lawyers, maclaren, and laterally stiff but vertically [deleted].

Joe
Joe
9 years ago

Specialized is going to loose business over this because I know I will not be getting one like I had planned for next year. I hope they suffer for there childish actions.

edd
edd
9 years ago

Up yours, Specialized,

love Australia.

turbo
turbo
9 years ago

what happens when you put some of the fastest most winning-est dh racers on specialized bikes….THEY STOP WINNING!…i am sick of specialized…they have become a marketing company first bicycle company second….if they spent as much time into design of there bikes as they did into this legal bs and their marketing propaganda they might have a halfway decent product.

Guy
Guy
9 years ago

Only one person has mentioned that Specialized has to protect their trademark or risk losing it next time… Those are the rules of the legal game.

This isn’t a Specialized problem; if you want to blame someone then blame our goofy gov’t, because if Spec doesn’t protect their trademarks they will lose them via our ever-more-goofy legal system. It would be irresponsible on Specialized’s part if they didn’t pursue this. I’m sure some people will actually not buy Spec product because of this, but I won’t be one. I own a business and I invested the money up front in legal assistance to check names in advance lest I be sued. If someone else uses one of my names then I have to harden up and issue a legal challenge if I want to keep my name, but that doesn’t make me a bad guy (even if the other guy voluntarily joined the military and voluntarily stayed in for 20 years). There are two sides to every story and we have only been presented with one.

chaosquest
chaosquest
9 years ago

Chainwhipped. GREAT POINT!
Specialized should stop exploiting TAIWANESE AND CHINESE cheap labor through
Merida bikes, who holds 49% of Specialized and build frames in the USA.
Giving back to the economy they survive on. Does Mike Sinyard still have any % of holdings in the company? If he does he is a SCUMBAG.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

SPCIALIZED IS A GORILLA! I have absolutely had it with large organizations that bully small shops and treat everyone like garbage… Hiding behind their charities and special events and then pulling this kind of crap! Never again. I love my endure dearly, but it will never look the same in my eye… A great bike from a worthless company… Shaking my head… So bloody sad, eh?

b-rad
b-rad
9 years ago

Will never buy a specialized product again.

You people can't read
You people can't read
9 years ago

Prepare for the anti-Specialized circlejerk. This isn’t some hostile corporate takeover, Specialized will lose rights to the Roubaix name if they don’t put out a cease and desist or take the matter to court. All this fellow had to do was check to see if the name was trademarked, and he clearly didn’t check. I think that you people are failing to realize how copyright laws work.

Ben
Ben
9 years ago

Haha, I love that on the Specialized FB page nearly every recent post has about 20 people posting the link to the article in the comments..

pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking
pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking
9 years ago

Okay, l agree that its stupid and petty but Specialized owns the name. They have the right to protect whats theirs. But really have a soul and be cool. Foster the biking spirit Big S.

MissedThePoint
MissedThePoint
9 years ago

Wonder what that shop owner did to piss off Specialized and/or their reps.

Jbird
Jbird
9 years ago

Specialized layers – Christmas bonus! Specialized PR man – Fired!
These customers are your future big S , is this really worth it?
I like your products, but these business practices will ultimately bring you down.
We do pay attention.

Bob
Bob
9 years ago

This guy should just move his shop over the border. The big S doesn’t own the roubaix trademark in the US, an importer of Fuji bikes does 🙂

carl
9 years ago

I’m reasonably certain you CAN’T own the name of a place unless that place is a corporate entity… ie – DISNEYLAND. If Specialized has such a big head that they think Mr. Richter named his shop after their bike…. well, maybe we need to bring them down a few notches.

Aside from all of the products already named containing the word Roubaix… how about NEW YORK magazine, The tv show DALLAS, BOULDER BEER etc etc. Specialized, you named your bike after a famous cycling race, as did this gentleman. Fire your lawyers and get over it.

Trey R
Trey R
9 years ago

Taking the passion out of this, first, I understand that Specialized has to protect itself from BIG competition. But if it allows smaller companies to do this, the bigger companies can say that they’re discriminating. Stupid? YES! One issue is that he sells wheels that are branded with the shop name, so that may be somewhat of a reason Specialized picked him out of a crowd. HOWEVER, to cover everyone’s tushes, the big S could have just said “hey, no offense, but would you mind signing this disclaimer saying you can use our “Roubaix” so as long as it doesn’t represent a “product”? This is all an assumption, and what is legal isn’t always right, but I hope there is some compromise reached. I love this industry because of the support that “the person doing the right thing” gets, and this shop is just that.

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