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Oregonian picks up "Stumptown" saga

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 9th, 2006 at 1:22 am

oregonian_stumptown

The "Stumptown" incident is far from over. The Oregonian covers it in their business section today with a front page article by Helen Jung. Helen also writes about it on her blog.

This story has sparked 139 comments so far on this site alone and has spread all over the Internet. Specialized has definitely struck a nerve and 99% of the feedback so far has been vehemently opposed to their decision. This article by the Oregonian will take the bad PR for Specialized to a whole new level. It makes me wonder if their response will stay the same or if they'll change course and back down before more damage is done.

One thing's for sure, there will be more developments in this story. Stay tuned.

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Comments
  • Evan February 9, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Lighten up, Francis.

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  • Anonymous February 9, 2006 at 10:57 am

    Specialized, you took your bully tactics one too far this time. All of this youve been building up is now coming back to haunt you. you dont own everything like you seem to think...

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  • Bestleft Unsaid February 9, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    OK, so it sucks that Specialized is taking this action. But I really think MC's bike quality and designs speak much louder than a decal on the top tube. The Stumptown is a sweet bike no matter what they call it. I know, Stumptown is synonymous with Portland. But I'm sure Specialized does need to take some sort of action to prevent any company from 'copying' their 'property.' How about a compromise: Specialize could grant the use of 'Stumptown' legally for a liscensing fee of $xxxx/year, and %100 of that fee would in turn be donated (by Specialized) to a local cycling non-profit organization/charity. Either that or MC could just rename it the Starbucker. Oh, wait, that may not be so good either...

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  • Anonymous February 9, 2006 at 9:22 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 Anders' - 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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  • Bill Larson February 10, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Mtn Cycle shouldnt cave at all. Specialized does not own the Stumptown name and therefor deserves no royalty in the use of it. If Mtn Cycles pays for the use of the name, then Stumptown Roasters and Printing could conceivably have to do the same. In fact,if Specialized has legal rights to this name, what does this mean for the city of Portland? Are we legally bound to Specialized's whims? do we have to pay or get permission to use the name? Put the shoe on the other foot... Specialized never concerned themselves with consulting the city of Portland before naming their bike many years ago. The name is public domain and Specialized does not own it. Its not similar enough to warrant this disturbance and I truly believe Specialized (or their legal councel) are more concerned with damaging other brands than they are "protecting" their intellectual property (look at their mass of litigation and bullying over the last few years.. I think they should consider a new legal team before they damage the name to where it will be too tought to bounce back from). They are trying to protect something they dont own....
    Most of us know the history of this town, the history of cyclocross in this town. Mtn Cycles was just honoring the city where the bike is produced and raced, its home.....
    If Specialized wants to start hammering everyone out there, they should be concerned for their own blatant copying of peoples' designs and trademarked names. Hardrock is just one thing thats coming to my mind as I type this. I dont know when the Cafe was established, but Im sure it was well before the introduction of the Specialized Hardrock Mtn Bike.
    This is the bicycle industry.... Its about great people who are interested in connected with like minded individuals to go out and explore the outdoors, get fit and have some fun in the process. Do we all have to argue about such silly things that dont have much of a connection? Id think that not just as cyclists, but also manufacturers, Specialized would also want to spread the bike love and good will in the community, within their own business for the health of their employees and healthy competition. Other brands (competitors) actually bring something to this industry that helps Specialized in so many ways. Specialized couldnt not have gotten to where they are on their own and I think they need to remember this. Never forget where you came from and who helped you along the way!!!!!!

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  • Rodman February 11, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    I think most people in the world that buy bikes don't even are about this issue. If people really cared or paid attention to what companies do every day, they wouldn't support a majority of those companies. An example is Wal-Mart. Number one in the line of business they are in. Nobody cares as long as they get cheap products. The average comsumer I think cares more about what can you give me most for less then this kind of issue. Companies like Specialized do that for the average consumer. I don't think it will hurt Specialized at all. If it does hurt them maybe they deserve it, but I think they will walk away untouched.

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  • Patrick February 12, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Rodman,

    You are probably correct. Average Joe probably doesn't know or understand squat about this. The problem Specialized is creating is that they are pissing off 1. Portland cyclists and 2. Their own loyal customers. Both of those groups ARE people who pay attention to "what companies do every day".

    I'll just speak for myself. I've got thousands of dollars tied up in Specialized equipment and not their "average" stuff. When I hear about this kind of business practice it makes me think twice about if I want to support that kind of business.

    If Specialized can prove that MC planned to some how trick buyers by changing up the brand name then I'll back Specialized. (read: Some bike developer Guy at MC say's: "Hey I've got a idea, how about we play off the success of Specialized, and we tweak the name just a bit. We'll call it Stumptown. And people will start buying our bikes because they will think it's a Specialized Stumpjumper." That's their rationale.

    Regardless, I'm planning a phase out of my Specialized products this year.

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  • Anonymous February 13, 2006 at 9:30 am

    The shame of it all is that the average US consumer doesnt pay attention to what they buy and who they buy it from. its too bad.. our environment and quality of living would be a lot better if they did. In fact, people across the entire globe would have a better standard of living if people cared more about who they bought from and how those companies run their business. Rodman, like you mentioned, Walmart is a great example. #1 merchant out there. Why? good marketing and underhanded means of doing business that keep their customers coming back to them because they cant afford to shop anywhere else. Minimum wage hurts the community, and those businesses that subscribe to that practice bring down the quality of life for everyone. People who buy from businesses such as that keep the quality of many lives down so they can try to upgrade their own. People say, "well, I couldnt afford this if it cost more....". Its one thing if youre talking about a 3rd or 4th bike, its another thing if youre talking about food, diapers or a car seat for your child (then again, if you cant afford a child, its should go unsaid that it shouldnt have happened in the first place..).
    If you cant buy as many things because your dollar doesnt stretch far enough, too bad. thats the reality for most people. Its called making priorities for those things that matter most to you and buying a quality item with what you have to work with. NOBODY should feel good about taking advantage of somebody who labors their butt off to hardly make enough to put food on their table so you can buy a better bike, or another bike or anything else for that matter. Thats how bang-for-your-buck companies, such as Specialized, operate and thats how they get you more-for-less. You might think thats great. I assume youd probably be part of the majority of this country if so. But, I dont agree with that one bit and if Im part of the minority in that argument, I dont mind one bit. Its about voting with your dollars. taking care of those that do the right thing and making it feasible for more people and more businesses to do the right thing. If Walmart paid their manufacturers and employees more, those people would have a better way of life. It would also put more money into the community which would help stimulate the economy. Furthermore, Walmart wouldnt be hurting other businesses in the area as much by bringing down profit margin and bringing down the average wage in order to compete in price. You could say that people cant afford higher prices, but they could if they got paid more... What came first, the chicken or the egg??? Its just one big race to the bottom! Unfortunately Walmart doesnt really care so much about the quality of their employees' lives as much as they do their profit and I believe that to be the most egregious business act.
    Take care of your employees as you would yourself and treat your customers with the utmost respect. A Business owner gets whats left... If the business is ran properly and has a great ambience for everybody, it will take care of itself. Most importantly, businesses will take care of the whole community if done correctly.

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  • Rodman February 13, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    I agree with the last two replies 100%. I just believe Americans and Portlanders also have a short attention span. If Specialized acts quick and does good damage control as well as create quality products people will forget it happened. Especially in the 49 other states in the union. Most bikers I associate with don't even have any knowledge this type of stuff is going on. These aren't stupid people or lazy. Most work a 9-5 and just want to ride when they get off work. The day is already consumed by their everyday stresses. They just don't care. Which is a shame but I understand the rationale.
    Oh well I am done commenting on this issue. You all seem like intelligent thinking individuals. I think that is awesome. Keep it up we need more of this in this country.

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