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Specialized, Mountain Cycle disagree on “Stumptown”

Posted by on January 31st, 2006 at 12:01 am

Portland stuff at Interbike show
[Not to be confused with Stumpjumper]

[UPDATES: A reader has posted the cease and desist letter from Specialized. See it here. (PDF)

*Specialized responds.]

North Portland based Mountain Cycle and global bike giant Specialized Bicycle Components of Morgan Hill, California are locked in a disagreement that neither side is backing down from. At issue is Mountain Cycle’s use of, “Stumptown” which has been the model name for their cyclocross bike since 2003.

According to Specialized’s legal department, Stumptown is “confusingly similar” to Stumpjumper, a model name Specialized has used since 1981. Specialized is demanding that Mountain Cycle “cease and desist” from using the name immediately and that they remove all current stock and references to the model from their marketing materials.

So far no lawsuit has been filed, but at this point there seems to be no budging from either side.

According to this wikipedia entry the term Stumptown was coined way back in 1847. I also wonder if Specialized is being a bit extra-sensitive because this year is the 25th anniversary of the Stumpjumper.

Do you think Specialized is being a bully…or do you think they have a real beef here?

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  • josh m January 31, 2006 at 12:21 am

    i think they’re being retarded.
    I don’t even relate the two names, but that could be because i’m from portland.. so.
    Do both the bikes look similar?(i can’t look at pictures at work). if not, i see no issue. if they do, well that’s something i can understand them having an issue with, but I still think it’s retarded.

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  • d. davis January 31, 2006 at 1:17 am

    Come on… Stumptown v Stumpjumper? One a cross bike, one a ho-hum hardtail mountainbike? Doubtful Specialized…

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  • organic brian January 31, 2006 at 1:52 am

    From my email to Specialized customer service
    (customerservice@specialized.com):

    This from bikeportland.org:
    “According to Specialized’s legal department, Stumptown is ‘confusingly similar’ to Stumpjumper…”

    Are you really suing Mountain Cycle? I haven’t seen any other online mention of this. This is idiotic. “Stumptown” is a nickname for Portland, Oregon, which Specialized has no claim to. Confusingly similar, like teas made by two different companies which both have “Peppermint” in their names? The bikes aren’t even in the same class, I don’t know who would think of a road bike as a stumpjumping bike. The only outcome I can see from this (I’m sure the lawsuit will fail) is Specialized alienating the “Best Cycling City” in the United States.

    BTW, my only direct experience with Specialized products is with a bike helmet which almost immediately began falling apart, though it was new when I started using it and I handled it very carefully.

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    • mike December 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      So far no lawsuit has been filed, but at this point there seems to be no budging from either side

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  • ED January 31, 2006 at 6:16 am

    So I’m pretty sure Portland is Stumptown.So considering that I think someone is being a tad bit We Todd Did, Sofa King style.

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  • Jim F January 31, 2006 at 6:36 am

    Bad case for Specialized, I think.

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  • Mike Q January 31, 2006 at 6:44 am

    If you find this type of attitude obnoxious (and I do), email Specialized and let them know. Tell them, in a constructive manner, that how a company acts is as important to as the products they make. As a consumer you have the right to vote with your dollars. It doesn’t hurt to remind the company of that every now and again.

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  • Ringer January 31, 2006 at 7:33 am

    Totally different. It woud be nice to *mess* (edit) with ‘em, maybe come out with *edited* or an “Alley” I really don’t think specialized can own a “sounds like” name.

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  • Jonathan Maus January 31, 2006 at 8:10 am

    Brian, just to be clear, no lawsuit has been filed yet.

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  • tim January 31, 2006 at 8:35 am

    maybe portland should take legal action against specialized.

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  • Dat Nguyen January 31, 2006 at 8:41 am

    I own a mountain cycle frame,I am building it up now..
    I would hate to see the stumptown name go away.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dontbecreepy/sets/687084/

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  • etta-tron January 31, 2006 at 9:03 am

    Here’s the letter I wrote. If anyone wants to use is as a form letter (just insert your name), please feel free to.

    Customer Service at Specialized

    Re: Stumptown v. Stumpjumper

    Hey guys! This is Etta Janoushek from Portland, OR and I am a bike-loving pedal pusher around these parts (and other parts when I get the chance!) As a part of the cycling community I try to keep up on the local cycling buzz and something that recently came to my attention is Specialized’s ire at North Portland- based Mountain Cycle’s use of the name “Stumptown” for their cyclocross bike.

    From what I’ve heard, there is the sentiment that Stumptown sounds a little too much like Stumpjumper for your comfort. In my humble opinion the names sound nothing alike and no cyclist worth their weight in Titanium would ever confuse the two. Furthermore, Stumptown has long (since 1847, according to Wikipedia) been a nickname for Portland, OR and myself, along with a myriad of other folks, feel a great deal of pride in having a local bike company name a bike Stumptown.

    Although I have never personally owned a Specialized bike, I have long respected your brand for the quality of your products. As a consumer I would be very hesitant to support, with my own dollars or with recommendations to friends with dollars, a company that would pick a fight like this one. Mountain Cycle’s Stumptown poses no threat to the Specialized Stumpjumper, and even if it did, you still wouldn’t hear me saying that Specialized has any rights to ban a company from using the name Stumptown.

    Besides, this is Portland, OR! Trek just named a bike after us, our city is kicking off efforts to become the first city to win the League of American Bicyclists “Platinum” designation, and we’re widely recognized as one of the best cities in America for cycling. Do you really want to alienate such a great client base? (Hint: the answer begins with an “n” and ends with an “o”.)

    Thank you for your time and attention. I hope this matter finds itself resolved soon so that we can all get our undies un-wound and stop glaring at the Specialized bikes we share the road with.

    Sincerely,

    Etta “The Concerned Consumer” Janoushek

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  • Andy January 31, 2006 at 9:44 am

    I have loved the stumpjumper for twenty years,and think Specialized shouldn’t be faulted for wanting to protect the image of the first commercially successful mountain bike. But, it’s absurd to think the folks would confuse the two bikes on either the name or use. You’re definately not going to accidently purchase the wrong bike because of the name, and the name won’t damage the stumpjumper’s reputation.

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  • Damon January 31, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Specialized’s legal department is obviously following through on its New Year’s resolution to file at least one frivolous lawsuit this year… See their suit against Epic (now Everti), or Scott, etc.

    http://www.bustedspoke.com/newsMore.php?nk=2109
    http://www.evertibikes.com/news.htm

    Maybe if the name was StumpHopper or StumpLeaper or any other Stump___er type word, but c’mon?! You can’t claim that a dissimilar bike, with a name rooted in history has anything to do with their StumpWhatever bike.

    Maybe just call it the Mountain Cycle Stumped?

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  • PVO January 31, 2006 at 10:41 am

    I am disgusted at Specialized. I will never buy one of their bikes again. This silly situation is almost as bad as the TREK “Portland” which has no economic connection to our community. I just brought a Stumptown from CYCLE PATH off MLK in Ne Portland. (Most friendly and buy local/ sustainable / environmentally friendly bike shops in PDX.) My buddy brought one as well to support the local bike economy. I live around the corner from Mountain Cycle’s production facility and am proud to have their high quality bompproof frames made here.

    I suggest everyone rise to the occassion and call Specialized today. here is the detail from their web site.

    Specialized Phone Numbers
    The Specialized toll-free Customer Service phone number is (877) 808-8154. The main Specialized phone number is (408) 779-6229.

    Buy USA it is good for you , your kids future and the environment. The same BS goes on in the skatebaord industy by all the big Cali companies outsourcing production over seas to sweatshops.

    I’m behind Mountain Cycle 110% on this one. And HEY!!! , when is Trek going to give us that cool Million $$$ for the BTA for using our City’s name on their new bike??????

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  • juan January 31, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Lucky they didn’t name it the “StumpStrong”. They’d get their pants sued off by Lance LegStrong, too.

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  • Anonymous January 31, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    VERY petty! but what more would you expect from them? I guess they need to get their requisite number of lawsuits each year to keep their legal team happy. There’s a rumor going around that Mike Sinyard just attended a house warming party for his lawyer in Vail Colorado…..
    was ken mcclenahan there too?

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  • patrick January 31, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    I think Specialized is being a bully. An idiotic, petty, overly-litigous (sp?) bully. For that matter, I think Trek is being a little dumb. Calling a bike “Portland” and not supplying full fenders on the thing? And [long rant removed by author]??!!!

    OK. All steamed up. Gonna email Specialized right now.

    Thanks Jonathan for bringing this to our attention and Etta for writing an excellent letter. –patrick

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  • Mr. Bob January 31, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    My letter to Specialized:

    Specialized Marketing: I am a real Specialized fan, BUT I think you are being bullies, all wrong on messing with the name “Stumptown” by Mountain Cycles. I have three Specialized bikes, but will get no more if you do not back down on this one. This issue is just too stupid to even bother with such a lawsuit.

    I am sure that Mountain Cycles naming a bike after our cities nick name will have such a tiny effect on your market share as to be immeasurable. If you do take them to court, the effect will be measurable from me, no more Specialized bikes in my collection. I have crossed America on a Specialized and have three of them. If you make the law suit, no more new ones, and I will paint the ones I have, covering the logo.

    Do not know what I will do with the tattoo I have. Like I say, a real fan, but don’t do this, bad marketing to mess with the little guy. A local BLOG has already affected your otherwise good press. – Mr Bob

    (PS: Open letter, anyone free to publish, important topic)

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  • patrick January 31, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    anyone have the customer service email address? Specialized’s web site appears to be overloaded with traffic just now… :)

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  • Brad January 31, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Specialized is way out of touch, but perhaps this will open a marketing niche. Above the Stumpjumper, that is from the lowly Hard Rock, to the respectable Rock Hopper, on to the Stump Jumper, they should then add the model “Stone Thrower”

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  • PVO January 31, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    UPDATE:

    A little history on the nick name of STUMPTOWN. Our fair City is affectionately known as “Stumptown”from an episode early in our history. All the wonderful trees were cleared early in our City’s history by the first white settlers to move out West. The early Portland landscape was described as a barren land of not trees but rather STUMPS, hence the name STUMPTOWN.

    Now that I shared the silly tid-bit of info, let me clarify my own protest at this corporate bike manufacturer. I am so offended by this insult to our well educated, community oriented, bike friendly City that WE affectionately call “STUMPTOWN”, that I am doing my own CLEAR CUTTING. I got home today I began taking my Specialized “Sequoia” bike apart and started to part out the Ultegra shifters and new Mavic wheel set.

    I am upgrading my “MOUNTAIN CYCLE STUMPTOWN” with the spare parts as the frame gets relegated to the garage.

    Mountain Cycle we love you!!!

    Mountain Cycle makes X$ by running a local USA based and environmentally friendly firm while companies like Cali based Specialized make X$ times 100 by demonstrating NO faith in you or your neighbors to manufacture their items.

    Sure they make a few items in the good old USA ,Canada or Mexico. But a very insignificant chunck is made in North America.

    Its like FUGAZI said in one of their songs: “Its not what they are selling, its what YOU are buying.”

    I’m buying another Mountain Cycle this summer!

    Thanks to all the active folks taking time to let DE-specialized know not to push our bike community around in PDX.

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  • rafa January 31, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    Specialized – are you reading this?

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  • Tim Jackson- Masiguy January 31, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    As another manufacturer in the industry, I wasn’t going to make any comments (I’m scared of lawyers), but the “Stone Thrower” model name idea from Brad made me blow water out my nose and on my screen. Oh, man, that is FUNNY!

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  • John C January 31, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    It is totally absurd, the names are completely different. Although in the legal world it’s not who’s right, but who has the most cash. Mountain Cycle will have to think about how much they want to spend in Lawyers fees to try to protect the Stumptown name if they file. Crazy stuff really, but I know I won’t be buying any Specialized stuff any time soon. Hopefully specialized will make the right decision and back off.

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  • John Q Public February 1, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Just let let y’all know – here’s another letter to specialized…

    To: Specialized
    CC: Mountain Cycle
    Note: Also posted to BikePortland.org

    Dear Specialized:

    I have recently heard of your threats made towards Mountain Cycle regarding the “similarity” of their bike name “Stumptown” (a cyclocross bike) to your (mountain) bike name “Stumpjumper”. Supposedly your company has threatened Mountain Cycle with legal action if they do not “cease and desist” in using the name “Stumptown” for their bicycle.

    While I understand that someone important at Specialized feels that this confusing of perhaps an infringement on your proprietary right, it is not so. “Stumptown” is a nickname for Portland, OR and is used with pride here. Mountain Cycle is a local Portland company, and by common sense has some right to use local names. Specialized is not a local Portland company, and thus should stop hassling our local businesses.

    In case you hadn’t heard, Portland has a great (and nationally recognized) bicycle culture, and there are plenty of us. I’m sure that many, many people would be glad to boycott Specialized products should your company continue to try and harm our local economy.

    SIncerely,
    John

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  • Miles T February 1, 2006 at 8:19 am

    PROTEST PROTEST
    This thursday FEB 2nd at 6 Pm TREK is introducing their Portland bike . There will a bunch of elected officals from the city and State present and inside industry connection told they they may be giving bikes to a few City officals to buy them off. This is a form of graft in my mind. It is a great opportunity for folks to voice their concerns about two issues at once and send amessgare to TREK to kick money back to our Bike community and to let BIke GAllery knon we support their sales of Mountain Cycles Not Specialized.

    The crappiest thing about the Portland trek Bike introduction is that City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who rarely if ever rides to work , will be on hand to ride the coat-tails of many of our very active Bike advocate officals such as Sam Adams AND Earl Blumenaur. I dont really feel that is very appropriate. What do you think?

    So protest Specialized, TREK and support our bike advocate elected officials

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  • Jessica Roberts February 1, 2006 at 9:29 am

    Randy Leonard rides his bike to work every day even though he lives in deep east Portland. He’s gotten really into biking in the last year or so.

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  • PVO February 1, 2006 at 10:04 am

    A number of my professional associates recently went for commuter ride with Commissioner Leonard. Jessica is right, he has recently taken to being a nice advocate for our biking needs.

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  • Aaron February 1, 2006 at 10:06 am

    If you want to see the actual “cease and desist” letter, you can download it here: http://www.matchvideozine.com/MClegal.pdf

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  • Aaron February 1, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Here’s the e-mail for the Legal Director at Specialized who is in charge of this mess: Kim.Arca@specialized.com

    I would recommend all of you who sent letters to customer service at Specialized, please resend them to this lady.

    Also, if Specialized wants a legitimate fight over their copyrights, they should go after this drink manufacturer that we found in Barcelona last year: http://www.matchvideozine.com/liquidspeed.jpg

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  • Rob Lindberg February 1, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Hey everyone- From all of us here at Mountain Cycle, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!! It means a lot to us, you rock. We love living, working and riding here in Portland… and we’re proud to have the Stumptown name on our cross bike.
    Thanks again-
    Rob

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  • Cedar February 1, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the support everyone! We are glad to know that the community is behind us on this issue. This is what Portland is all about!
    Stumptown rules!!!

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  • Jonathan Maus February 1, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    BikeBiz, a major bike industry media outlet (print and web) has picked up the story and I expect Bicycle Retailer and Industry News to publish a story on their site tomorrow.

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  • Caroline February 1, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    It seems like Bianchi should have a Cross Concept with Surly’s Cross Check.

    Ridley has the Crossbow and the Crosswind – is it save for Gunnar be allowed to have the Crosshairs?

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  • Shirley Eugist February 1, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Subject: Pissed in Portland

    Dear Specialized-

    I’m sure your customer service department has heard the roars of indignation coming from the Pacific northwest, and I am writing to join in the fray. There is absolutely no merit in threatening legal action over the use of the model name “Stumptown” by a Portland, Oregon, company that builds bikes.

    As I am sure you have been informed already, the nickname “stumptown” was bestowed upon Portland in its early days as a pioneer town. I would be willing to hunt down thorough documentation regarding etymology, although I do not have it at my fingertips as I write. Documentation would prove that the phrase was coined before 1923, and like most creative expressions created in the United States before that date, is public domain.

    I invite you to look at the following image, from 1857, which shows one of many photos of our “stumptown” and retells the story that nearly every Portlander knows:
    http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=00082B57-4034-1E8B-891B80B0527200A7

    Thus, we have local businesses with names such as Stumptown Roasters, Stumptown Printers, and Stumptown Media. Local media regularly use the phrase, flavoring references to our city in the days of yore.

    Are you going to send a cease and desist order to them as well? Is it really worth the time and money spent on your legal department (not to mention bad PR in a great cycling market!), to pursue such a futile case? Is this small company that much of a threat to your multinational, multi-million dollar business?

    If anything, hearing this news has just reminded me how important it is to support local business, instead of supporting McCompanies like Specialized which only aim to squeeze the little guy out for their own gain.

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  • organic brian February 1, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Wow, Shirley! Rock… ON! I aspire to writing such poetically scathing letters.

    Still no word from Specialized or their rock-throwing department since I emailed two days ago, called yesterday, and also emailed the legal dept. yesterday.

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  • Hugo February 1, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    You know, it seems that so often this whole trademark thing comes up and companies act, based not on whether they will actually be harmed, but simply based on the fact that they have the legal right to do so.

    Combine that very human tendency with the fact that there are lawyers in Specialized’s employ, who get a paycheck, and have the very human tendency to justify their employment.

    So at no point does anyone actually pause and consider, “are we really going to be harmed by this?” Not to mention, “will our response cost us more business than trademark ‘confusion’ ever could.” To me, this whole Specialized thing is the perfect example of this dynamic.

    Specialized is defending their trademark, ’cause they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and take as gosepel the notion that similar names = loss of money. When what, at this point, they should be more concerned with what is happening to their “good” name. Because of their heavy handed tactics, they are getting trashed by the very people they need to be befriending. They are, as is often said, cutting off their nose to spite their face.

    Dear Specialized, get over it. A bike called “Stumptown” will not harm you. We, the cyclists of Portland, enraged by your attempt to own the nickname of our town, will. Back the hell off.

    H.

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  • Jessica Roberts February 1, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    I have to say, I am really enjoying the eloquent, passionate, creative letters that y’all are sending Specialized. It seems like the perfect expression of Portland’s – sorry, Stumptown’s – homegrown bike culture. Keep it up!

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  • freddy February 1, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    Dear bike friends at Specialized,

    I have to say, I’m really dismayed that you’ve decided to target our homegrown bike company Mountain Cycle because you seem to think people will get “Stumptown” mixed up with “Stumpjumper.” Mountain Cycle is a small company, and it’s 100% clear that their product is different from yours.

    Stumptown is a well-known nickname for Portland, and we’re pretty into bikes here. in fact, I wouldn’t be suprised if the Portland market turned a nice profit for your company. So why are you acting like a big bully? The word’s getting around the Portland bike community, and it’s starting to spread beyond, and it’s really not making you look very good. I know plenty of folks who are disgusted and say they’ll make a point of not buying a Specialized if you go through with this.

    I hope you’ll reconsider this suit. It’s really not worth it, and I can guarantee you it’s already cost you more customers than the three IQ-challenged customers who accidentally buy a Mountain Cycle Stumptown when they meant to buy a Specialized Stumpjumper.

    Cheers,
    Freddy

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  • Jonathan Maus February 2, 2006 at 12:02 am

    The word on this story continues to spread. Here’s a link to Bike Sport News, a German outlet (translation anyone?) and I also noticed this post in the VeloNews forums.

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  • John Q Public February 2, 2006 at 1:29 am

    Perhaps we (Portland cyclists) could file something like a class action suit against Specialized for using our town’s nickname on their product?

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  • Anonymous February 2, 2006 at 7:08 am

    There’s a new post about this whole imbroglio at http://www.Bicyclemarketingwatch.blogspot.com.

    It has interviews with local shops, more on the email exchange between Specialized lawyers and Mtn. Cycle, and links to http://www.UrbanDictionary.com‘s definitions for “Stumptown” and “Stumpjumper.”

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  • Jonathan Maus February 2, 2006 at 8:02 am

    There’s also a bit about this at BicycleRetailer.com.

    And here’s the permalink to the post mentioned above at Bicycle Marketing Watch.

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  • Dan February 2, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Dear Specialized,

    I’m sure you and your customer service department have heard the uproar coming from Portland(or as we affectionately call it “Stumptown”). I am writing to join in the fray. There is absolutely no merit in threatening legal action over the use of the model name “Stumptown” by a Portland, Oregon, company that builds bikes.

    I’m a daily commuter, racer & cycling enthusiast. I’ve owned admired and owned many Specialized products over the years (Including but not limited to an S-Works mountain bike & a Allez Pro Road bike as well as uncountable saddles, tires, gloves, computers, etc.). This type of behavior is what prevents my conscience from shopping at places like Walmart. (Strong arming the little guy). I still believe you create a quality product, however I am inclined to spend my cycling dollars elseware – which over the years has been fairly signicant. Don’t you think that your customers are intelligent to know the difference between a mountain bike produced by the “Big S” and a Cyclocross bike? Specialized obviously needs learn not to cut off their nose to spite their face.

    As I am sure you know by now, the nickname “Stumptown” was bestowed upon Portland in its early days as a pioneer town.Thus, we have local businesses with names such as Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Stumptown Printers, and Stumptown Media. Local media regularly use the phrase, flavoring references to our city in the days of yore. In addition, Portland hosts the largest cyclocross series in the country ( http://www.crosscrusade.com). Hence, Mountain Cycle chose to honor our fair city with the name “Stumptown” to both honor our heritage & our continued success in cyclocross.

    While you are at it, are you going to go after Rocky Mountain or Rock Lobster for infringing on the Hard “ROCK” name.

    Besides, doesn’t Mountain Cycle’s parent company (Kinesis USA) supply parts & possibly frames for many of the bikes in your line? I know my Allez had a Carbon Kinesis fork. Are you really willing to alienate your suppliers?

    I know you will do the right thing,

    Regards,

    Daniel Porter
    Portland OR.

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  • Jessica Roberts February 2, 2006 at 9:59 am

    Oooh, issue me that challenge and I have to accept! Here’s a translation of that German story:

    Warning: Beware of mixing up Stumpjumper and Stumptown

    2/2/2006

    Since 2003, Portland-based bicycle manufacturer Mountain Cycle has produced a cyclocross bike they named for one of the city’s nicknames: Stumptown. Specialized doesn’t care for this name.

    Portland, Oregon, is THE city for cyclocross in America. Thus it’s no surprise that Mountain Cycle (which produces its bicycles in the same workshop as frame manufacturer Kinesis) is offering this homegrown clientele their very own cross bike. They gave the bike a locally ‘patriotic’ name: Stumptown. Stumptown is a historical nickname for Portland, a city founded in the era of Davy Crockett, in the days when the American Civil War was still far in the future. The first settlers named the place “the clearing,” and in this clearing there were, presumably, any number of stumps to be found. The brave pioneers were thus required to be “stumpjumpers” of one kind or another, but that’s another story…

    In any case, back in the present day: Specialized’s lawyers have issued a cease-and-desist order to Robert Reisinger, proprietor of Mountain Cycle, which compels the company to stop using the Stumptown name, to recall all currently available bicycles using the name, and to remove the name from all promotional material. Their justification: the name Stumptown is “confusingly similar” to the legendary Specialized bicycle “Stumpjumper” (which coincidentally is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary). According to Portland’s bicycling website “Bikeportland.org,” no suit has been filed yet. Understandably, Mountain Cycle doesn’t seem inclined to comply with Specialized’s order…

    This topic has become a rich source of discussion in Portland’s bike scene, who are, so to speak, today’s local “stumpjumpers.” And outpourings of sympathy for Specialized are, to put it gently, few and far between. If push comes to shove and Mountain Cycle is forced to give up the name, after their hard-working gentlemen lawyers (or lady lawyers–let us not be accused of chauvinism) fail to win in court, Robert Reisinger can at least comfort himself in the knowledge that Portland has more nicknames that would lend themselves to gracing a cyclocross bike model. “Puddletown,” for example, or “Rip City.” Or better yet, how about “The Clearing”?

    If the disagreeing parties are clever (and want to save on legal costs) they might wish to emulate Portland’s founders, who years and years ago were at odds about what “Stumptown” should be named: they tossed a coin. That time around, “Portland” won, and only through chance is the city’s name not “Boston.” Come to think of it, Boston at that time was nicknamed “The Hub,” which is also not such a bad nickname…

    Original story and plentiful opinions from Stumptown’s stumpjumpers can be found here (link to this bikeportland.org entry).

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  • Russell February 2, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Email written and sent to kim.arca@specialized.com and customerservice@specialized.com for what good it’ll do.

    My favorite part of the cease and desist letter was where Ms. Arca claims: “Specialized has developed considerable goodwill… within the bicycle industry through it’s use of the name STUMPJUMPER on bicycles.” If that’s true, she’s pretty hellbent on reversing it.

    We all should get to defend “considerable goodwill” with legal threats. It’s this years black.

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  • Dabby February 2, 2006 at 11:33 am

    I personally think, to add my two cents worth, that it is rediculous to have to change a name due to similarities, even though they are basically the same product, the names are not even the same.
    Our family buisness, Campbell enterprises, was sued, they didn’t want us to use the family name, our family name.
    Oh, there was a uproar, but in the end, the employees decided to change it to Campbell Pet Co.
    Because, even though it may be better to hold tight to what you believe in, hold strong to that name, sometimes you have to let go.
    That is what I have to say on that note.
    And, on another, I am going to go see this afternoon, this uproar Portland bike.
    Though, in the pics I have seen, and read about the setup and parts, this bike is a very poor representation of what we are about bike wise.
    I wish a little more had been put into it than throwing a name on just another bike…..
    But, I am still going to go look at it, shake my head, and get back on my single speed for my little journeys around downtown……
    Is hard to pedal enthusiastically when you are so dissapointed…

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  • Aaron February 2, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Here’s what I sent to both their legal dept and their president. I urge you all to contact Specialized if you haven’t already: Kim.Arca@specialized.com

    Dear Kim,
    Recently there have been some rumblings in the Portland community about Specialized’s legal challenge of Mountain Cycle’s cyclocross bike, “Stumptown”. I understand that the legal department believes that Mountain Cycle’s Stumptown is “confusingly similar” to the Stumpjumper.

    Regardless of any confusion that may be occur between a mid-range XC bike and a high-end cyclocross bike, I believe that the attention these legal proceedings have garnered will hurt Specialized’s name much more than a few confused consumers that accidentally buy a cyclocross bike instead of an XC bike. I have been in the bike industry for over a decade and have yet to come across a consumer that buys a bike solely for it’s name without looking at the bike’s specs to decide if the bike is right for them.

    The Portland bike community has been named the top bike community in the United States by multiple sources and I believe that you would be doing yourselves a complete disservice by alienating this community. The local forums are up in arms, ready for a complete boycott and there is a PinkBike OpEd article in the works should any further action be taken (PinkBike.com is mountain biking’s largest freeride forum, boasting 250,000 visitors per day). This kind of negative publicity will surely hurt Specialized’s brand image (and bottom line) in the long-term much more than a few potential lost sales over “confused” consumers.

    The Stumptown nickname has existed here in Portland since 1847. There are literally hundreds of companies in Portland with “Stump” in the name. As a member of mountain bike’s media, I urge you to rethink your legal action and let Mountain Cycle continue the use of the Stumptown name in Portland’s honor.

    I recognize Specialized’s need to protect it’s intellectual property and that this year will be particular sensitive for the Stumpjumper with the 25th anniversary, but how much bad publicity can Specialized withstand by suing small companys before “The Big S” begins to stand for “Schoolyard Bully”?

    Thank you for your time, please make the right decision and respect the Portland bike community.

    Respectfully,

    Aaron Lutze
    Portland, OR

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  • Shop Guy February 2, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    WHAT?? If anything Specialized should apologize for creating anomosity towards us Oregonians by marketing a name that implies they think it’s fun to jump their mountain bikes over our clear-cut forests! I am certain many homes in California (where they hail from) were built with the old-growth timber now dicimated for their benefit. AND NOW they want to sue an Oregon company??? Freakin’ self-rightoeus Califonians! Get a life. Mike Synard you should be ashamed of yourself.

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  • Matt P February 2, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Here’s what I just sent to Specialized:

    While reading one of our local cycling websites, “bikeportland.org”, I was informed that your company is considering legal action against Mountain Cycle, Inc. of Portland Oregon. On October 24, 2005, your legal director Kim Arca sent Mountain Cycle a “Cease and Desist” letter over their use of the trademark “Stumptown” for their cyclocross bike. The stated reason for the “Cease and Desist” letter was the purported similarity to Specialized’s “Stumpjumper” line of bicycles and related products. This disturbs me primarily because the two trademarks are not at all similar. They describe different bikes, they are linked to different companies, and one term refers to a practice while the other refers to a place: “Stumptown” has been a nickname for Portland, Oregon for more than 150 years, and is intimately associated with that town (where Mountain Cycle is located) in the minds of nearly the entire Pacific Northwest. “Stumphopper” would be a clear violation of your trademark, and easily confused. “Stumptown” is not.

    I have purchased a number of products manufactured by Specialized in the past. I have generally found them to be reasonably priced and of acceptable quality. I believe, however that the actions of a company are as important as the price, quality and suitability of the products they sell. If your company continues to pusue legal action against Mountain Cycle, which poses no threat to Specialized or its trademarks, then I will discontinue buying Specialized products and will encourage others to do likewise. I’m reasonably certain that my email is not the first correspondance you have recieved on this matter. I don’t believe your company wishes to risk alienating a large fraction of the Portland cycling community. Please do the right thing, and have your legal department draft a letter stating that while you continue to enforce your trademark, you do not contest Mountain Cycle’s trademark. There is an amicable path that protects your intellectual property and sales base while remaining a good corporate citizen – please take it.

    Respectfully,
    Matthew P. Picio
    Cyclist and bike commuter
    Portland, Oregon

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  • Hugo February 2, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Just a point of clarification. The Stumpjumper line ranges from an aluminum hardtail with decent stuff on it, to an all-carbon full-suspension bike, decked out with the best stuff out there.Just so you know.

    This should in no way be misconstrued as a defense of Specialized. I think they are being incredibly petty and shortsighted.

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  • Bill February 2, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    I agree with Matt P that the actions of a company are as important, if not more important, as the price, quality and suitability of the products they sell.
    Despite Specialized’s actions from here on out, I plan on never buying their product again. They have shown again and again and AGAIN that they want to rule the bike world to no end and that they will stop at NOTHING (cause thats exactly what this argument details) to do so. With the 900 million or so that Specialized pulls in every year you wouldnt think they would have the time or drive to go after a company thats probably bringing in 1-2% of that (if that). Their complaint isnt even valid. They have the money to fight this legally and can string it out as long as theyd like thus financially devastating small companies til they drop out, not because they dont have a legit argument, but because they cant financially fight it. Its bullyish and its you and I that have to stand up and hit Specialized financially and give them a lesson in social economics. vote with your dollars people… There are plenty of great small or not so small bike companies that arent out there creating petty animosity towards others. We are fueling this company to do whatever it is they choose everytime we give them money. They obviously dont choose to use it in a very responsible (ecologically or socially), caring way, so why reward them?
    Your dollar makes so much more of a difference in this political, financial, social climate than your vote does (please dont stop voting!), so spend your money wisely….

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  • patrick February 2, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    I’ll be scribing my own letter to Specialized. I agree with Dan Porter (Ironically it looks like we’ve owned the same bikes).

    It is also likely that I will be riding my Specialized EPIC at the Sea Otter classic which is in Specialized’s back yard. I’d like to have a sticker STUMPTOWN to put over the EPIC logo. If anyone knows where I can get one. I may also personally deliver my letter, heck I’ll personally deliver anyone’s letter to the Specialized tent at Sea Otter.

    This likely will influence my decision not buy Specialized products in the future.

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  • » The Biking Hub February 2, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    [...] [...]

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  • Hugo February 2, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Hey folks,

    You know how when you buy vegetables, it’s a good idea to buy them from someone who grows them? Sometimes it’s not practical, but you try. And if you can’t, you really hope that they don’t spray really nasty chemicals on them, and you REALLY, REALLY hope that they don’t hire 7 year-olds to pick them. Well, perhaps this whole trademark crap is NOT the real issue. Truth be told, Mountain Cycle is NOT a little guy. They once were, but so was Specialized. Mountain Cycle is now owned by Kenisis and this means that for all intents and purposes they are Kenisis. And Kenisis is a huge freakin Taiwanese/Chinese, quasi-slave-labor manufacturer not unlike Specialized, and both of them are locked in their stupid little trademark battle dictated by the rules etched into stone tablets by guys (and maybe a woman) who read a lot of books when they should have been out riding their bikes.

    Sooooo, when you folks are talking all about not ever buying Specialized and buying some other bike, or stuff to go on bikes, I wonder, what other bike? What other stuff?

    With very few exceptions (Cannondale comes to mind-although they do make one bike in Taiwan) most companies make their stuff . . . drum roll please . . . in freakin Taiwan! Not that I am anti-Chinese, but guess what, they are not your neighbors! They are not your friend. They are not the guy you have a beer with at the Laurelthirst on a Friday night when you’re pattin’ yourself on the back for listening to local music.

    How about we all step back and view this as an opportunity to rethink the cycling economic model, especially as it exists here in our own little nirvana known as P-town.

    Are you a barista who can barely pay rent and you need a bike that works? Well saunter on up to the counter at a local bike shop with a 6-pack in hand and have a heart to heart talk with one of the mechanics. I bet they can steer you in the right direction.

    Are you a fifty year old white dude and have $2,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Well instead of getting a Taiwanese aluminum jobby with a serial number on it, how ’bout you hire Joseph Ahearn, or Sacha White, or Strawberry, or one of a dozen local framebuilders to make you a bike that is YOURS! Go to their shop! Talk about bikes. Learn the names of their kids! And write them a check that puts food on their table, in exchange for a frame, imagined, gathered, mitered, filed, and welded, for YOU.

    True, it is an imperfect system. The components will most likely be made in Japan (god I do hate to love Shimano), but there is light on the horizon. SRAM is an American company (I think) and perhaps, if they do well in the future, they might go to some small town (Gresham?) and hire a couple dozen people to build parts. Perhaps.

    Maybe I need to just check myself and get realistic and understand that no one can slow the global juggernaut. Or maybe, we will all realize that our purchasing decisions mean more than our votes ever could.

    My friends, learn the name of your local mechanics, buy ‘em a beer, find the one you trust, find someone who will build you a frame, or fix the bike you have, and then have a party and invite all your friends, show them a bike unlike any other, and then go for a bike ride and have a great time. And know that not one of your hard-earned-dollars went into the pocket of a lawyer who was so bored at work that they thought that the Inc. that they work for owns the name of our town.

    Ride on. Bikes kick ass.

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  • Russell February 2, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Patrick:

    If you go to the Mountain Cycle link at the top of this page and then click on the stickers tab, you can order an assortment of stickers for $5. If you have your heart set on the Stumptown sticker, they say on the tab that specific frame replacement stickers will be availible soon. Perhaps an email to the company can bag you a couple?

    http://mountaincycle.com

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  • Anonymous February 3, 2006 at 6:33 am

    SRAM actually makes all parts in Taiwan too…

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  • Dan February 3, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Hugo,

    Point well taken- Mountain Cycle is not a ‘little guy’ – however, as far as the lesser of two evils – they do have a factory here (where bikes are actually welded) and they do have a staff of marketing folks, bike designers, welders, product testers, etc. HERE. Not in Taiwan, not in California, but here in PDX.

    And, the issue isn’t one big guy vs. another. It is about foolish & baseless litigation.

    So, at the very least, support the local employees of Stumptown (pun intended)

    -Dan

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  • Bill Larson February 3, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Patrick, if you come into Cycle Path I can set you up with some Stumptown stickers 503-281-0485.
    Hugo is correct, Mtn Cycles is owned by Kinesis. Being the local Mtn Cycles dealer I can say that at least Mtn Cycles operates as a seperate business from Kinesis. The feel good thing for us is that Mtn Cycles has vowed to keep their production in Portland for their own lineup and we’re supporting a team of good guys who make a liveable wage. So, while Kinesis might be the parent company, at least they are trying to do the right thing at some level.
    I think any production of goods here in the US should be praised (and trust me, there are tons of great US made bikes). Companies cant get away with egregious enviroment acts as easily, work environments are typically a lot nicer, many brands that are willing to manufacture in the US buy their materials in the US, most times you get a better product and people must be paid at least minimum wage (which as we all know isnt really a liveable wage, so lets help our local guys so they can offer sustainable wages to their employees). Its these actions that will help keep businesses here and someday might help bring some back…

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  • Joe February 3, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Maybe we ought to start a list of US made bike brands. I know I would be interested in seeing one. anyone?

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  • Russell February 3, 2006 at 11:44 am

    Here’s a link to global bike production stats .

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  • patrick February 3, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the input. Bill I’ll be by for the stickers.

    I’d say I’m puttting my money where my mouth is on this one. I’ve already ordered a frame from IRA RYAN in the last month.

    For me the issue is about choice and it seems that Specialized bullying around the home team my choices are getting limited. Take another example for instance: I wanted to buy a Scott Genius, but guess what? Can’t get those in the USA thanks to good O’ Specialized creating a lawsuit.

    Personally I feel let down. I’ve been a good Specialized customer for years, heck I’ve got 3 bikes, countless shoes, gloves, pumps and other components, Sun Glasses the list goes on. When freinds ask me about a FS MTB I without question say “Specialized EPIC”.

    This experience has made me questioned my Jim Jones commitment to Specialized.

    I’m still prepared to take a letter to the Specialized tent at Sea Otter. I think I’ll hand deliver it with a pound of Stumptown coffee!!

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  • [...] [In case you haven’t been following the Specialized and Mountain Cycle saga, read this post first.] [...]

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  • Chris Lesser February 3, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Hugo,

    Buying a Mountain Cycle bike, especially if you live in Stumptown, aka Portland, is about as close to buying local vegetables as you’re going to get when it comes time to plunk down some change on a new bike.

    Okay, maybe buying from an uber-local manufacturer is closer, but often those boutique brands cater more to the 50 year old white guy than the barrista you talked about.

    As Dan points out above, Mountain Cycle employs welders and machinists in Portland, Oregon, USA. Not absolutely sure what percentage of production it is (Mountain Cycle? Wanna chime in here?), but bottom line, they’re paying wages, supporting the local economy, etc., etc.

    The sticker on your specialized may say Designed in California, USA, but you can bet that sucker is made in Taiwan. Probably by Giant, in fact.

    I hear where you’re coming from. Kinesis is a big company. Kinesis USA is a division of that company, and although they might take their marching orders from Taiwan, they make bikes here.

    They used to make bikes for a lot of other companies—Bianchi, Diamondback, Evil, GT, Mongoose, Peugeot, Raleigh, Santa Cruz, Schwinn, Specialized, Storck, Trek and Turner, and that’s not all.

    Also, for the record, Mountain Cycle was founded in San Louis Obispo, California. It was bought in 2001 by Kinesis USA and production was moved to Portland. Part of the purchase stipulated that the company would cease online sales and go strictly through bike shops – ensuring beer for shop monkeys everywhere.

    Having accepted my share of six-packs working in shops, I sure do appreciate manufacturers that are loyal to shops. So in that regard, cheers to both Specialized and Mountain Cycle — not all manufacturers follow suit.

    Bending to the same financial reality as every other company that makes bikes overseas, Kinesis doesn’t do nearly as much contract manufacturing here, but it does some. Instead, has decided to pour some capital into Mountain Cycle — that’s why you’re seeing a revival of the brand after a lull the last few years. Maybe that’s why Specialized has chosen to protect their brand name all of a sudden — the Stumptown is a three-year-old model, after all.

    Granted, if Specialized made all their bikes in the U.S. the cost would be unrealistic. Specialized does have, again, wild speculation, more industrial designers and product engineers than any other U.S. bike company, lots probably employed in the U.S. (Specialized? Care to elaborate?) Rail on them all you want for this lawsuit, but no one can argue that Specialized product isn’t dialed. It is. Their bikes are beautiful and the technology is bleeding edge.

    Of course, they may spend the most on marketing , too. Hence the overactive legal team.

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  • Jake February 3, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    I thought I’d mention that Specialized did years ago have some of it’s frames produced here in Portland at Anodizing Inc and painted locally at Class Act. In search of greater profit, all production has been moved to Taiwan (to the best of my knowledge). Many Portlanders were left jobless as Specialized pulled out of Portland.

    I’ve spoken with the Mountain Cycle guys at the cyclocross awards party held at their factory and I think they only have a crew of four or five. I know all the Stumptowns are made there and most all the other MC frames are built in the same building by the Kinesis USA production staff.

    Specialized has never done anything for me personally, but I had a great time and more than my fair share of free beer at the party hosted by Mountain Cycle.

    GO MOUNTAIN CYCLE!!!

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  • Chris Lesser February 4, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Someone from Mountain Cycle got back to me with a clarification, re my last post, which read, in part:

    “Also, for the record, Mountain Cycle was founded in San Louis Obispo,
    California. It was bought in 2001 by Kinesis USA and production was
    moved to Portland. Part of the purchase stipulated that the company
    would cease online sales and go strictly through bike shops – ensuring
    beer for shop monkeys everywhere.”

    MC: “Actually there was no such agreement. Robert [Reisinger, founder of MC and prev. owner] had no problems with the
    idea of online sales. Stopping it was one of the first things [MC]
    decided to do after buying the brand in order to regain the trust of the
    IBDs.”

    -Chris

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  • James Lentz February 4, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Specialized’s legal team isn’t being “overactive.” They’re just doing what a legal team for a trademark holder needs to do to maintain their trademark.

    I’m not a lawyer, but the rules are something like this: if you have a product named X, and someone comes along with a similar name for a similar product, you *have* to send a cease-and-desist or the law takes it to mean that you’re not interested in holding on to your trademark. If Specialized doesn’t send Mountain Cycle that letter, when someone names their Specialized clone the “Stumphumper” and Specialized gets pissed, the copycat company will point to all the other bikes with “Stump-” names as support for their right to mimic the sound of a Specialized trademark. If Specialized has already admitted they don’t have a hold on the name (by establishing no precedent of defending it), they won’t have a legal leg to stand on.

    So I don’t think you can blame the legal team. They’re just playing the game the way its been written for them. Whether that game is fair to “the little guy” is a separate question. Personally, I think the marketing bigwigs at Specialized should recognize this will neutralize an awful lot of that “goodwill” they’re so pleased about, overrule the lawyers, and let this drop; it’s better to have a weakened trademark than a name associated with bullying in the relatively friendly world of bicycling.

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  • Anonymous February 4, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Specialized is not what Id call bleeding edge technology… they have nice looking stuff that is good quality, but its really nothing nicer than a decent number of mid to high-end high-production brands. In fact, they are so afraid of Scott’s product offering that they warned their dealers not to be carrying Scott AND Specialized or theyd be dropped. A good portion of their stuff is built by Giant and their designs arent all that different than most bikes on the market. Take a look at their carbon road bikes… They arent even close to being as light as the Scott CR1, yet the CR1 is as stiff and strong as any of Specialized’s road bikes.
    Specialized has nothing on Intense, Ventana, Moots, Foes, Serotta, Turner, Independent Fab, Vanilla, Seven, Mtn Cycle, and this list goes on and on. To spend $3,000-$6,000 on a Specialized mtn or road bike is silly when you could just about anything you wanted for that price and not be buying a mass produced bike. I do understand that some of their REALLY highend stuff is made in the US, but why buy a Specialized if you want something exotic? At that pricepoint Specialized starts losing it’s price competitiveness which is its main attraction in the first place.
    the simple fact is that Specialized is inexpensive, mass produced Asian product with a nice coat of paint and nice packaging. They dont make a SINGLE item they sale. The only reason Giant isnt paying for the Horst Link is because Giant refused to continue building Specialized’s bikes if Specialized continued the lawsuit they were engaged in.

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  • Thursday February 4, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    I think you should stick to it. I have a model I now call “the bike formerly known as H****t” mainly ’cause Schwinn came back from the dead and p4robably wanted to keep usin that name.

    I think in this case you have a better claim to the name than I did with the Hornet. I have A couple other S based names that I’m keeping,. like the “Phantom of the Opera.” My son named that bike when he was 10. I could care if Schwinn has a Phantom.

    Maybe I’ll call it “Le Fantom de l’Opera.”

    I think Specialized should fire their attorneys and hire some bike designers. Their shit is vanilla,

    jn

    “Thursday”

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  • Shane Jones February 5, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    That’s a bunch of CRAP. Specialized should leave Mountain Cycle alone. I still have my circa 1990 Stumpjumper. I’m not going to get it confused with a Stumptown and neither is anyone else who knows anything about bikes!

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  • Raiyn February 7, 2006 at 12:34 am

    On January 31st, 2006 01:17 d. davis wrote

    “Come on… Stumptown v Stumpjumper? One a cross bike, one a ho-hum hardtail mountainbike? Doubtful Specialized…”

    The Stumpjumper line has also incorporated full suspension bikes as well Sparky. Just thought you should have your facts straight before you pass judgement on something you evidently know squat about.

    That said the cease and desist bit is CRAP. The Urban dictionary has this definition of “Stumpjumper”
    “One who brags to his friends about the number of women he has had anal sex with.
    ie
    ‘The chicks at that bar found out he was a stumpjumper and would never go home with him.’”
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stumpjumper

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  • organic brian February 7, 2006 at 2:09 am

    Here’s an idea: A bike ride, to bike shops, urging them to stop carrying Specialized products or at the very least promoting local makes first and educating customers about the Specialized bullying. It could maybe culminate in a ceremonial dropping off of Specialized bikes / other parts at CCC, or a smashing fest. A witty name for the ride escapes me… help? Ideas? Maybe this weekend, which is supposed to have nice weather? Reply here and we’ll organize something. I know Jonathan is much too nice and apolitical to print a “Specialized sucks ass” type of sticker, but I think that would be funny to have. “Portland hates Specialized. BikePortland.org” Hee!

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  • John Q Public February 7, 2006 at 10:44 am

    Organic Brian-

    local shops that are Specialized dealers is posted at http://bikeportland.org/2006/02/03/specialized-responds/

    I think some anti-Specialized stickers would be awesome. Any easy way to print weatherproof DIY stickers? “Specialized Sucks” (both with the red “S”), “Portland Hates Specialized”, or “Specialized Hates Portland” might be good options.

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  • From around the ‘net 1 » The Biking Hub February 7, 2006 at 11:32 am

    [...] When BikePortland publicized a cease and desist letter sent by Specialized to Mountain Cycle regarding the use of Mountain Cycle’s use of the name ‘Stumptown’, it created a little bit of a stir around the Web. Along the way, the news elicited comments that hinted at what some perceived as heavy-handed tactics by Specialized. Since then, Specialized responded to any inquiry from Jonathan Maus, and it looks as though the big ‘S’ is standing firm. It’ will be interesting to see how (and if) this issue goes any further in the realm of public opinion (via cyclelicious). [...]

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  • PedalShop February 8, 2006 at 4:44 am

    Just the other day I installed a Sram derailleur on a bike and it didn’t work… I got confused, I should have used a Shimano derailleur, you see, silly me, they both start with S and I didn’t notice it untill it was too late.

    Come on Specialized, you’re way off base.

    I hope this hurts Specialized in the pocket, they have a lot of go-nads pulling this stump, I mean stunt.

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  • Anonymous February 8, 2006 at 8:54 am

    RockShox is probably next – so easily confused with Rockhopper.

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  • Paul T. February 8, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Here is my take.

    I can accept that when someone sets up a patent on something then they should have the right to be have exclusif right to that item.
    However I think Specialized is composed by a bunch of hypocrites! They take names or designs from other people and that’s ok (because the others did not patent the products) but but gets bent out of shape cause of their imagination (cause really Stumptown does not mean Stumpjumper) they are suing? That’s pretty low.

    For the examples I mentionned above are: The name “Roubaix”..It has been used by many bike companies before Specailized! Wake up! and so is “Pave”.

    In terms of design copyrights…I can think of the Giro carbon squeleton on the helmets which the Decibels uses!!!! iro should sue them for that. Hypocrites!
    I mean if they believe that people should not infringe on patents they should observe that themselves!

    what goes around comes around!

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  • [...] The “Stumptown” incident is far from over. The Oregonian covers it in their business section today with an article by Helen Jung: ‘Stumptown’ brand name puts two bicycle companies at odds [...]

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  • Anonymous February 9, 2006 at 8:39 am

    i heard that the hard rock cafe was suing specialized. too many people going into bike shops and leaving with crappy taiwanese bikes when they were intending to get burgers with fries

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  • Elljay February 9, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    All this reminds me of what went on in Seattle a few years back. The US Olympic Committee controls the use of “the O-word” in the United States. The USOC went after a bunch of businesses based in the western part of the city, many of which had views of a certain mountain range.

    It ended up with the USOC admitting a big, “D’oh!”

    I’m writing my letter to Specialized (never owned one, never will) and hope that they admit a big “d’oh” too!

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  • Rob February 9, 2006 at 7:33 pm

    After reading about this Specialized assault on a small bike co. the ill will towards Specialized has spread to central Washington.

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  • carlo February 9, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    looks like the big S will look silly after this load of cobblers

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  • Bruce February 9, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    I back Specialized.

    I’m an avid cyclist, and I wouldn’t make any connection between the two names, but Specialized has a business OBLIGATION to protect their interests against any possible trademark infringement which could CONCEIVABLY adversely affect them, at any time; now or in the future.

    I think anyone who is involved in any activity deeply enough to peruse related media regarding our chosen avocation(s), tend to lose objectivity and are unable to view it through a layman’s eyes.
    To a casual biker, ‘Stumptown’ just MIGHT appear to be simply a “new & improved” variation of the venerable Stumpjumper model.

    A judge has to make the objective determination as to whether it is likely that an average person might be confused enough to cause either party a monetary loss, or if it MAY appear that MC might be wrongfully attempting to leverage Specialized’s massive reputation and clout to increase their own sales. (Business Ethics 101)

    Specialized has to protect their property, just as MC might object to say, Santa Cruz creating a new model called the ‘San Andrays’ – Might be “confusingly similar” to persons not actively involved in mountainbiking.

    Now, with all of that being said, it is not an opinion as to whether I believe that there is or is not any substance to Specialized’s claim, but I DO understand and support their business need to pursue the matter, and their right to enforce copyright enfringement.

    FWIW – I also believe that Lance has EVERY RIGHT to object to the name “Skidstrong”, which I consider to be a BLATANT ripoff of Lance’s fame and reputation.

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  • Matt P. February 20, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Bruce – there are better ways for them to do this. The traditional way when there is no deliberate infringement is to write up a letter of understanding and get both parties to sign it. This serves to prove in court that both entities took steps to defend their trademark. A cease-and-desist letter demonstrates bad manners. If it goes to a lawsuit, then it becomes “heavy-handed”. Specialized probably pays their legal staff more than Mountain Cycle brings in during a single year.

    There is no trademark infringement going on here, and it’s likely though not certain that a judge would agree. If Specialized had a strong case, they would have already filed suit. They know it’s nebulous, and they’re likely hoping that Mountain Cycle will give in rather than go to court.

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  • [...] The March 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) includes a story on the Specialized/Stumptown saga, which first broke on this site back on January 31st. BRAIN is a well-known bike industry trade magazine that goes out to every bike shop and manufacturer in the U.S. The article is not available on-line, but I’ve scanned a copy that you can download: Specialized Objects to Mountain Cycle’s Stumptown Name (JPG, 130K) [...]

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  • Tom Piszkin March 14, 2006 at 10:27 am

    I couldn’t help but chuckle while reading Matt Wiebe’s report: “Specialized Objects to Mountain Cycle’s Stumptown Name.” Specialized is requesting that Kinesis cease using the Stumptown name because of the confusion it causes in the marketplace vis a vis their Stumpjumper mark.

    Your [Bicycle Industry and Retailer News] readers may be interested to know that Specialized has ignored this exact same request from another smaller player in the industry. Airo-Series, Inc. holds the federally registered trademark, Transition, which has branded its family of triathlon bikes before Specialized decided to use the same mark for its triathlon-targeted series of road bikes.
    The ’06 Bicycle Buyer’s Guide issue of Triathlete Magazine features these bikes on pages 58 and 60.

    In response to our requests to cease using this mark their Legal Director said, “ we do not feel you have the right to prevent us from using the Transition name…we see little potential for confusion between our products…Specialized is willing to continue to peacefully co-exist.”

    I guess Specialized is big enough to have it both ways. Good luck Kinesis.

    Tom Piszkin
    Airo-Series, Inc.

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  • Scott Mizée March 16, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Specialized = Hypocrite WOW!

    I think Mr. Piszkin’s note above says it all.

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  • [...] Now, I notice there is a post on a popular mountain biking forum site that says Mountain Cycle employees have been given notices and that “there is no more Kinesis USA, or Mountain Cycle.” None of this is official yet, but if it’s true, the timing is very unfortunate. The company was in the midst of a major upswing and had a lot of exciting new energy around it. And, as many of you know, Mountain Cycle is also currently entangled with Specialized Bicycle in a trademark disagreement over the use of the name “Stumptown”. [...]

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  • [...] Kinesis gave employees a days notice before letting them go. Only one employee remains at their “dead” offices on North Williams Street, and he is there to liquidate remaining inventory. There’s been a lot of speculation about what extent the Specialized saga played into Mountain Cycle’s demise. Many people in the community are jumping to the conclusion that Specialized caused this to happen. That is definitely not the case. I know for a fact that Kinesis and Specialized are currently negotiating an amicable settlement to the case. I also know that this settlement may include Mountain Cycle changing the name of their Stumptown cyclocross bike to “Stumptown OR”. This is an agreement that both sides seem to be cool with but an official agreement has yet to be signed. [...]

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  • From around the ‘net 2 » The Biking Hub March 24, 2006 at 11:03 am

    [...] Mountain Cycles shuts its doors. Portland-based Mountain Cycles has folded after the company’s Taiwanese parent pulled the plug on the operation. Whether this action has anything to do with the legal dispute between Specialized and Mountain Cycles over the name ‘Stumptown’ is open for debate. [...]

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  • Mike T. March 26, 2006 at 8:52 am

    Isn’t it lucky for Specialized that Stumptown was the “bigger person” and didn’t issue their own “cease & desist” order back in ’81? Specialized should acknowledge this and be thankful for it and back off.

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  • George April 20, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    Is Mountain Cycle officially dead? I can access their website and I see various bike shops carrying their stuff.

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  • Roger Louton May 5, 2006 at 10:18 am

    From the Bicycle Retailers and Industry News:
    A Letter to the Editor:
    ‘Specialized Wants It Both Ways’
    I couldn’t help but chuckle while reading Matt Wiebe’s report: “Specialized Objects to Mountain Cycle’s Stumptown Name.” Specialized is requesting that Kinesis cease using the Stumptown name because of the confusion it causes in the marketplace vis a vis their Stumpjumper mark. Your [Bicycle Industry and Retailer News] readers may be interested to know that Specialized has ignored this exact same request from another smaller player in the industry. Airo-Series, Inc. holds the federally registered trademark, Transition, which has branded its family of triathlon bikes before Specialized decided to use the same mark for its triathlon-targeted series of road bikes. The ’06 Bicycle Buyer’s Guide issue of Triathlete Magazine features these bikes on pages 58 and 60. In response to our requests to cease using this mark their Legal Director said, “ we do not feel you have the right to prevent us from using the Transition name…we see little potential for confusion between our products…Specialized is willing to continue to peacefully co-exist.” I guess Specialized is big enough to have it both ways. Good luck Kinesis.
    Tom Piszkin Airo-Series, Inc.

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  • Jiwa Jiwa June 8, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    while we’re out at, stumptown coffee should sue mtn cycle too, yo. just sayin. let’s kill em good n dead.

    unfortunately the lawyers you subsidize everytime you buy a specialized product are paid to track down and aggressively pursue these *clear* and *outright* (??!!) infringements of their tm’d names. its ridiculous, but its the case. welcome to the biz.

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  • Jiwa Jiwa June 8, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    ‘at it…’

    sorry. stoopid fingers.

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  • Rob June 13, 2006 at 4:49 am

    Hi,

    I’m sorry to hear that MC is closing. I’m in Holland and I own a Fury and a Zen and love them both.

    Good luck to those loosing their jobs and their families. Not fun.

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  • Jym June 28, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    For people who can afford the brand SPECIALIZED the thought seems ludacris that the buyer would not have the sophistacation of decerning the brand of one from the other or the security of such brand differences and causually mistake one for the other. Shopping by product name identifacation is a very weak argument to claim for infringment considering the segment of the population that would actually be trying to shop and compare bicycles and the thought occure to me that this is actually and insult to any who are consummers who are conscious of what is available.

    This could be therefore be considered a blantant attempt to limit consummer choice by legal means just because quality of products may not be a decernable factor when comparing Brands and wouyld indicate at least to me a weakness that is hidden by a manurfacteer(sorry about the spelling) tying to elimate a competeture through legal means insted of delivering a superior quality product that outdistances with design and craftmanship.

    Jym

    p. s. my personal thoughts go out to those forced into a job and carrier decision not of thier own making.

    Jym

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  • flyingsuperpetis July 6, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    It is saddening to hear that after all these years of time & effort, the Mountain Cycle has been dissolved. The MC guys did great work. A lot of talent in that bunch. Hats off, fellas.

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  • [...] I guess that despite the community’s misgivings about how Specialized treated locally-based Mountain Cycle, plenty of people still prefer bikes from the “Big S” (I have to admit, they do make some nice rigs). So go check out River City. Besides being just an all-around amazing shop with a shrine to Eddy Mercxx and metal people riding on their rooftop, they brew a mean espresso and they run the funniest ads in the Willamette Week (which not everyone appreciates). [...]

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  • trek7000 August 5, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Whether or not this had any bearing on the closure of MC, the incident has amply demonstrated Specialized’s true corporate colors. I will NEVER buy a Specialized bike. Ever. Greedy corporate bullies.

    Buy indy. Stay local.

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  • Nathan September 22, 2006 at 2:04 am

    Oh “Specialized is a big company so I hate them” boo hoo

    The value of a strong brand cannot be looked past so it is completely understandable for Specialized to want to try and protect it.

    Why can’t the Stumptown be renamed – is it really that big of a deal?

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  • Kris September 23, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    It seems to me the nickname “stumptown” belongs to the city of portland since ~1847. Maybe “Specialized” should respect that and change the name of their “product”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stumptown

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  • [...] Another cool thing that caugh my eye, was this sticker designed by Josh at Cyclepath bike shop. It was made in homage to the Specialized/Stumptown/Mountain Cycle fiasco. [...]

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  • Seven December 4, 2006 at 12:30 am

    Californians… go figure. Next they’ll sue the Rolling Stones for playing ROCK music.

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  • Specialized Sucks May 23, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Here is a perfect example of do as I say, not as I do. The bicycle company Fuji used the name Roubaix for their road bikes. Specialized thought it was a great name and decided to use it for a particular model of their own road bike. Fuji tried to put an end to it, but Specialized dug in their heals and basically told Fuji to \”go to Hell\”. Fuji spent some time trying to get Specialized to stop using the roubaix name, but Specialized being the bully still uses it.
    No Problem. Fuji has started using some of the Specialized trademark names. If Specialized tries suing Fuji, and win, the prove the case for Fuji, and Fuji will ultimately win.
    Boy it really sucks when you try to cheat and it comes back to bite you in the a$$; doesn\’t it Specialized?!!

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  • boo-2-specialized-bikes April 3, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Man, I love Specialized Bikes. I’ve never seen this story. That is quite bullish. The Specialized Stumpjumper is a classic, but it’s the jumper part that makes the name. Specialized bikes is alluding to the ability to jump over stumps with their famed mountain bike. Stumptown is refering to something entirely different…

    Relax, Specialized. I don’t think the Stumptown is going to out sell the Stumpjumper anytime soon nor will mountain bikers the world over confuse the Stumptown for THE Stumpjumper.

    Relax, Specialized Bikes…

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  • Rose December 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Let’s take this overseas. Hi, I’m Rose from Holland. I recently took a good friend to my high-end bicycle store in my hometown. Proud an all, for they sell the quality bikes from Specialized. I feel disgusted by the very idea of this case. Get a life. You know where you stand in your market value. Be proud on that and courteous to any cyclist on this planet. For one, they are potential customers. And two, did anyone explain to you the concept of employee branding? I will. In my class this Monday. Yes, Americans sue eachother all the time. who would want to work there? Buy their stuff? THINK! And most certainly before you act.

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  • Barb Chamberlain (@barbchamberlain) December 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Poor Specialized–for years I’ve thought stumpjumper was the generic term for someone who went out into the roads and rode over logs on purpose, whether that was in a motorized 4×4 or on a mountain bike or motorcycle.

    Given that I can drink Stumptown Coffee when I’m in Portland, I’d say there’s plenty of precedent for the name being associated with the city of Portland.

    And, oh, look over here: a motorcycle club that owns http://stumpjumpers.org/.

    Wait! A whole BOOK about mountain bike riding: http://www.amazon.com/Stumpjumper-25-Years-Mountain-Biking/dp/1891369636/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386452498&sr=1-1&keywords=stumpjumper

    Could it be that Specialized didn’t fully research the many existing uses of the term they’re actually using before naming a product? So now they’re going afield to look for variants?

    I’m stumped.

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  • Sam J December 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    The question is not whether Specialized is shooting itself in the foot, but how mant feet it has. Plus, the new slogan, “Got Lawyers?” also seems to violate some rights of the Milk Advisory Board.

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  • Scott December 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    “Confusingly similar” is lawyer-speak for “We just found the legal department’s next bonus if we can make ourselves look like we’re protecting the brand”. I wonder if they’re getting their lawyers from Apple.

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  • Rc December 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Read up on bully Hill winery and it’s fight with Taylor wine. This is a very similar David vs goliath story.

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