Today I ran across an article that Specialized Bike Company has decided to take legal action against a small bike shop in Canada called Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio. What is causing this fight of a small bike shop versus Specialized you ask? Well, there is a small commune in France called Roubaix and if you follow cycling even in the slightest, you know exactly what Roubaix is all about. The spring classic Paris-Roubaix is a must watch race every April and one that shop owner Dan Richter holds near and dear to his heart. And since that race is so popular, Specialized named one of their bikes after it, simply called the “Roubaix.”
So why would a big cycling giant like Specialized decide to go head to head with a small town bike shop to drop the name “Roubaix”? Well, that’s a very good question and one that no one can quite understand right now. Sure, Specialized does make a bike called the Roubaix (but so does Fuji), but I’m fairly certain, a company cannot claim ownership of the intellectual property around something named after an area in France or any part of the world for that matter. The managing director of Specialized Canada, Larry Koury, has simply said that they are defending their trademark for “Roubaix” in Canada and “We are required to defend or lose our trademark registration.” Bad reason, Mr. Koury!
To add more insult to injury, Richter opened his shop after coming back from the war in Afghanistan and opened the
shop to cope with post traumatic stress disorder. “I’ve gone through some very intense (post-traumatic stress disorder) therapy in the last year. Forcing myself to get out there into the public and the business world has taken a huge effort,” he says. “I’m just at the point where we think this might fly, so this was a huge hit for me personally.”
Legal experts are saying that Richter has a good case, but it will take upwards of $150,000 to defend his business. If it gets to it, I do have a crowdfunding campaign ready to go if Dan needs it. I hope Specialized comes to its collective human senses and drops this pending suit.
And….P.S. Here are prior frivolous lawsuits by Specialized where small companies had to bow down to a law suit. Sounds like this is part of their DNA:
Mountain Cycle Stumptown Bike
And x 2…. if you are wondering how the cycling world is reacting, here are some of the reactions from around the world: