Harvest Century September 22nd

Specialized responds

Posted by on February 3rd, 2006 at 6:27 pm

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

Yesterday I sent an email to Specialized’s legal person, Kim Arca. I wanted to give them the chance to make a statement because I felt like by saying nothing they were only making things worse for themselves. Here is the text of my email:

Hi Kim,

Jonathan Maus here. I just want to let you know that I have nothing against Specialized and that I would like to offer you space on my site to come in and make a statement about this situation. I’m willing to publish a statement from you, unedited, and without any commentary from me.

I think an honest statement would really help Specialized at this point. Hope to hear from you soon.

And in return I just got the email below from Kevin Franks, head of media relations and corporate communications for Specialized:

First, thanks for taking a moment to get to the bottom of the conversation we’ve been having with Mountain Cycle. More than anything, we want everyone to know that the tiff over the Stumptown name isn’t an “us vs. them” situation. Bottom line is the Stumpjumper brand is remarkably important to us, our dealers and our customers. It’s a brand that we’ve celebrated for 25 years now; the funny thing is that many riders are more familiar with it than they are with the Specialized name! We take so much pride in the Stumpjumper and what it represents that we’ve just released a hardcover book celebrating the 25-year heritage of mountain biking and the Stumpjumper’s place in it. So, yeah, the fact is that, as will all of our intellectual property, we were forced to ask Mountain Cycle (or any other company in a similar situation) to stop using the Stumptown name or risk losing the right to it ourselves. We simply have to protect what we’ve worked so hard to develop in order to justify the time and investment we put into making better bikes and equipment for everyone.

So there you have it. Sounds like they’re standing firm. I also called Kevin to ask him a few questions and he told me a bit more. He spoke about how this isn’t about just Stumptown, but that they’re looking at the long-term ramifications of not protecting their most prized trademark. For example, if they are not strict about enforcing the trademark now it may “erode” their “position for owning the Stumpjumper mark in the future.”

Stay tuned for more developments on this story.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

62 Comments
  • […] *Specialized responds.] […]

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    julie February 3, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    i wonder how specialized feels about a little aussie wine called the “stumpjump” (a gorgeous and inexpensive little red blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre). buy it now before it disappears into the specialized fold. don’t get me wrong, i too am glad that they have responded to your email, but i think they’re out of line, and wasting their time and money. one of my favorite bikes i’ve ever owned was a ’93 stumpjumper and i still mourn it’s theft. so there ya have it.

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    Dabby February 3, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Doesn’t it appear to anyone how silly it is that people are sueing each other simply because the words are similar?
    Certainly this is not a battle that Kenisis and Mt. Cycle would lose. Certainly Specialized is looking for somesort of settlement in their favor……. What do I say about it?
    Once more over the breach men…. Once more over the breach…

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    Chriss Pagani February 3, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    Speciealized: “we were forced to ask Mountain Cycle (or any other company in a similar situation) to stop using the Stumptown name or risk losing the right to it ourselves.” ..BUT, they don’t have any rights to “Stumptown”, they’re product is Stumpjumper.

    This is almost beyond retarded – and the stupidity means I will probably have to stop buying their products lest I be a party to their idiocy. *sigh*

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    anonymous February 3, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    This is ludicrous. it upsets me so much that I dont even know what to say other than I will NEVER buy another Specialized part again so help me. I actually feel ashamed for having bought their products in the past. As if by this action I fell prey to Specialized’s marketing ploy that so beautifully covers up the hideous money grubbing #@#$$% they are. contary to what Frank said, it IS a Us vs. Them thing. its a lawsuit! Frank, you dont have good grounds for this action and your response was very weak to say the least. Is this fear driven or greed driven? either one doesnt paint a good picture of your company. Why bring this up now?? this isnt the first or even the second year Mtn Cycles has produced this frame. they actually have a history of several years with this frame, so why now? I honestly do believe your motivation is to try and put others out of business, but say whatever you will to keep your well polished look. Velveeta…. VERY cheasy!
    Just so all know, Specialized put out an ultimadum this year that all their dealers had to give them 30 days written notice before bringing in another line or Specialized reserved the right to sale their product to any dealer in that territory (landmark). Additionally, they told their dealers that if they sold Scott and wouldnt drop the Scott line, Specialized would drop them as a dealer. There’s fear, bullying and arm-twisting to try and gain market share. Most brands use their quality products and outstanding customer relations to promote their business. VERY lame politics they use in an industry of promoting fun and well being.

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    eric February 3, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Man, if your customer base is that diluted that they can’t tell your brand from your model, you need better marketing. I think this is a lame corporate knee jerk a perceived threat to the 25th birthday hype of the model. Excepting recent immagrants from Mars, anyone can tell the difference in the names and products. MC rocks, but Specialized ain’t losing no market share to crossover customers who accidentally bought a cross bike.

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    Peter W February 4, 2006 at 1:06 am

    I think xerox and kleenex are examples of terms that were originally a trademark, but after wide use and the companies not fighting people using those terms, they ended up generic terms no longer completely identified with one company.

    I’m no lawyer, but I’ve read somewhere that if a company fails to defend its trademark, once it falls into general use it will no longer be valid. So perhaps in order to prevent a Trek Stumpjumper, Specialized has to appear to make an effort to fight every bike related Stump**** it finds.

    What I wonder is – would it be fine for Specialized to take Mountain Cycle to court and present a weak argument about why Stumptown is too similar, but let the court strike it down for the lameness it is? (Then when Trek Stumpjumper, or Stumphopper, comes out Specialized can say they have *tried to* defend their brand all along). Any lawyers know more about this?

    OTOH, maybe Specialized is just being jack asses like Star Bucks. That’d be sad, cuz I thought Specialized says “Innovate or Die”, not “Litigate or Die”.

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    Hugo February 4, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Specialized is not being entirely forthcoming about the options at their disposal.

    Specialized and Ford share the name Expedition for two of their respective products. Specialized used it first and could have pervented Ford using it. To allow Ford to use the name while preserving SBC’s claim to the name, Specialized and Ford essentially signed a letter agreeing to terms of the use of the name. This action created a paper trail, essentially proving that Specialized was active in defending the name.

    -Why Specialized is more cooperative with a car company than another bike company perhaps speaks of their corporate values-

    It would be nice if SBC and MC signed a letter that said something to the effect of,

    “Out of respect to the history of Portland, Mountain Cycle’s hometown, SBC hereby allows MC to use the name “Stumptown” for its cyclocross frame. This use is mutually agreed upon and does not erode SBC’s right to the trademark “Stumpjumper.” In exchange for this permission, MC agrees to not pursue future products with similar names.”

    Hmm, sounds like 2 adults coming to an agreement.

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    Brian February 4, 2006 at 8:48 am

    Stump Jumper was my CB handle as a kid, riding BMX bikes on trails in 1975. Ha, Ha, I just remember this. Anyways, the term must have been coined long before Specialized chose it for a brand name.

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    Jordan February 4, 2006 at 9:07 am

    This arguement is not that surprising when you think about specialized. They sued about half the mountain bike industry a few years back over their FSR/horest link.

    Specialized is being really dumb. StumpJUMPER and StumpTOWN are not the same name. I could see the coffee company bring a lawsuit since the name is the same.

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    Tom February 4, 2006 at 10:24 am

    On behalf of every hair metal band from the 80’s I’m going to send a cease and desist letter to the big S(holes) over the use of the term Hard Rock in relation to their bikes. I feel it dilutes the brand that we as spandex and eye make up wearing, falsetto singing namby pambies have worked so hard to maintain.

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    Russell February 4, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Quote:
    we were forced to ask Mountain Cycle (or any other company in a similar situation) to stop using the Stumptown name or risk losing the right to it ourselves.

    So now they are claiming a right to “Stumptown”? They can kiss Portland’s collective ass.

    I hope Mountain Cycle fights this, but since I can’t bankroll the brawl, I’ll have to make a small economic impact by never buying another Specialized product again and by turning my nose at anyone who does.

    The next time I’m in the market for a bicycle, I’m gonna take a close look at a Mountain Cycle frame.

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    Howard February 4, 2006 at 11:25 am

    I’m thinking of welding a couple of aluminum tubes together, attaching a drive train and calling it The Stumphumper! If others did this we could all get Srecialized to sue US! Other good names would be The Stumpy, or just STUMP, The Stump-Pumper, or (my favorite) The Stumpf***er. Please feel free use any of these names and to sue anyone else who also uses them. But please don’t sue me as the only thing I have of value is a 99 Stumpjumper.

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    Curt February 4, 2006 at 11:28 am

    If I were a marketing person at Mountain Cycle, I would hype the hell out of this fight. Specialized’ lawyers are just doing their jobs, as they get paid to do. But Mountain Cycles could gain huges amounts of free publicity out of this, before they finally have to cave in and stop using the “Stumptown” name. All the bikes magazines could be running “david v. Goliath” stories on how this little indie bike company in Portland, Ore, has to go up against this huge corporate behemoth from California. Editors love that shit!

    This is just another day at the office for Specialized, but it could bring the Mountain Cycle name to thousands and thousands of cyclists who probalby never even heard of MC before. This is a publicity gold mine (if MC can mine it correctly …)

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    Peter W February 4, 2006 at 11:49 am

    FYI,

    Earlier, I was refering to the case where Star Bucks sued a shop called “Sam Bucks”. Also a similar-but-not-same name thing, and also a case where the store owner had what many believed was a legitimite right to call his store that (because, that is, *his name was Sam Bucks*).

    back to bikes though, I like the free publicity idea Curt has.

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    Dan February 4, 2006 at 11:53 am

    Correct me if I’m worng, but I believe this is not the first time Specialized has been involved a product name battle. WTB produces a tire that was once known as the EpicWolf, until SBC pulled the same move (as w/Mountain cycle) because of their line of Epic bikes. The tire is now called the ExiWolf.

    I find it incredible that a such a huge company and bicycle industry powerhouse would be concerned with a situation such as this.

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    Chriss Pagani February 4, 2006 at 11:56 am

    >> “I was refering to the case where Star Bucks sued a shop called “Sam Bucks”. Also a similar-but-not-same name thing, and also a case where the store owner had what many believed was a legitimite right to call his store that (because, that is, *his name was Sam Bucks*)”

    Actualy “her” not “him” ..as in Samantha ..and Yes, but she didn’t lose the lawsuit because her name was too close to Starbucks. That’s the media spin, but in actuality she also appropriated the Starbucks logo and look – so much so that a casual visitor to her shop might have thought it really WAS a Starbucks.

    There’s a big difference.

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    Me February 4, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    I think The Hardrock Cafe ought to jump in and take Specialized to court for the use of their name. its not a similar name, it is the SAME name…

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    Anonymous February 4, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    i heard that specialized is sueing the hard rock cafe too

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    Anonymous February 4, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Russel wrote: “I think xerox and kleenex are examples of terms that were originally a trademark, but after wide use and the companies not fighting people using those terms, they ended up generic terms no longer completely identified with one company.”

    The difference in this example is that Kleenex and Xerox are the EXACT words that were incorrectly overused, thus causing them to become accepted as common nouns and verbs rather than brands. Its not like a new company came on the market calling their brand KleanNed (I wonder if Specialized assumes the name “Ned” as their intellectual property after their former mtn biker…), and after having a few brands of tissue named similarly, the general public confused the original brand name with the product description.
    This is like saying that because there are two bikes out there with the word stump in them, that the original model name of Stumpjumper will take over as the generally accepted word for bike. People will, for the most part, call bikes (of any creed) Stumpjumpers. Bike will become a past-time word. One that only old farts use. Nothing that the spry, witty youth would except to use as a word. And… only because Specialized didnt uphold their intellectual properties back in 2006, this was allowed to happen.
    come on! its completely different. not to mention Stumptown is Oregon public domain and often used in the city of Portland as a business name. Portland should be going after Specialized for not getting the ok to use Stumpjumper by Specialized’s reasoning.

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    patrick February 4, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Jonathan,

    I’m serious about taking some sort of letter with signatures to the Specialized tent at Sea Otter. I’ll be racing Expert MTB Cross country and Short track (sigh… embarrassed to say) on my Specialized EPIC. I’m getting something worked up so I will cover the Specialized Logos and and have a STUMPTOWN sticker on the bike.

    At the same time I don’t want to create a riff for Mt. Cycle. So maybe some help with diplomacy on your part.

    I think Specialized needs to understand the ramifications of a foolish lawsuit like this.

    Now if we could just get a shop in town to drop their bikes……

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    patrick February 4, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    Just thought of something,

    Maybe I could get the bike lawyers in town to fire up a suit for ME against Specialized.

    I’m suing on the grounds of emotional distress from everyone who is going to give me crap in this town for riding or using Specialized products.

    How ridiculous would that be???

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    eric aldinger February 4, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks S-jerks. I was compelled to buy the bad ass Stumptown I had been drooling over at Cyclepath. I will effectively dilute your brand recognition with every mile I ride. And I ride a lot.

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    Caroline February 4, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve been wondering what to do with my stinky old Specialized “Body Geometry” shoes. I’ll just send them to Specialized HQ. Body Geometry this! P-U!

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    Drew February 5, 2006 at 7:01 am

    My Specialized water bottle is suddenly leaving a bad taste in my mouth…

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    Alan February 5, 2006 at 8:00 am

    Specialized just lost another customer- Ha- and I was going to pick up a new Tarmac this week. I’ll buy the Scott carbon now. Specialized – you don’t know how disapointed I am in you actions.

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    JV February 5, 2006 at 9:35 am

    That is so disappointing. I had high hopes that getting an actual human from Specialized to respond would expose that this was largely a big misunderstanding. Instead, he practically said, “Yup, we’re big corporate a-holes with more lawyers than sense.”
    They have the “right” to “Stumptown”??? They’ve got brass ones, that’s for sure.

    It would be bad enough simply to go after the local “little guy” for what amounts to nada. What’s truly egregious is claiming “rights” to our city’s nickname…if that’s not public domain, then what is? This is no different than making a line of models including “Hotlanta,” “Tinseltown,” and “The Big Apple” and proceeding to claim these as intellectual property. Weak.

    Individual boycotts may not hurt specialized, but bad publicity does. Personally, I plan to do my part in voting with my dollars and giving buying advice to friends.

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    Hugo February 5, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Word from my source at MC is that there is NO “conversation” happening between SBC and MC.

    And as a Portlander, I must say that SBC’s assertion that they have “the right to (Stumptown) ourselves,” reeks of the corporate “manifest destiny” that is running so rough-shod over our world these days. Another example of everything for sale and everything owned.

    I’m not one to resort to vulgarity, but it sure makes me want to email SBC with a simple yet heartfelt “bleep you.”

    On another note, I was reading the newsletter that SBC sends out to dealers. In it SBC President Mike Sinyard apologizes to dealers for the previous year’s misteps. Those misteps included being too aggressive toward dealers -the very people who make them money – and making them feel like they were being pushed around and not appreciated. (I’ll try to scrounge up some quotes from that letter.)

    Sounds to me like SBC has a little too much “aggressiveness” throughout their corporate culture.

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    eric a. February 5, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Used my vote and just put money down on a Stumptown.

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    Chris Lesser February 6, 2006 at 4:19 am

    To the point above, RE: the Ford/Specialized comparison. I don’t know how long Specialized has been making its Expedition “comfort bike” for — I know that category hasn’t even been around that long, Ford Expeditions started showing up in ’97 — but that Ford would ever bend to a bike company, even a relatively well funded company with rather aggressive lawyers, is ludicrous.

    At the same time though, think of how cyclists on discussion boards like this would cheer Specialized if they notched a victory against
    the one of the most iconic obnoxious SUVs!

    But Ford made $3.5 billion in 2004 and spent $7.5 million just on lobbying. My money is on the SUV maker.

    Anyone know how long the Expedition has been around for? Might be an interesting comparison if the car brand has been around longer, because if you disregard the fact that the giant auto maker probably craps bigger than most bike companies, it’s possible Ford didn’t pursue the needless litigation because of all the bad PR such a seemingly frivolous, David-versus-Goliath lawsuit would invite. (Sound familiar?)

    Also, re: Xerox and Kleenex. I think that’s excactly what Specialized doesn’t want to happen to its brand name – it doesn’t want it diluted. Xerox and Kleenex ARE trademarked. Sure, they’re used interchangabley to indicate photocopy (noun and verb) and tissue, but brand X companies can’t call their product by those names. That’s why Kleenex and Xerox are always capitalized in print – because they’re brand names.

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    etta-tron February 6, 2006 at 9:23 am

    I rode with a friend on Sunday who was riding a Specialized and I proceeded to tell him all about the Stumptown/ Stumpjumper debacle (The Great Name Tirade of 06) and I could visually see the disgust building on his face. By the time I was through it was all I could do to keep him from throwing his bike in the bushes right then and there he was so upset (“um, dude, i don’t want to ride you the last 15 miles on my handle bars…c’mon, you can ride home with no shame”)

    Keep spreading the word! Stumptown is OUR name, not theirs.

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    Bill February 6, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    I think Specialized will do MUCH MOEE HARM to THEIR BRAND by persuing this endeavor than anything they could possibly gain. They have already spread a lot of ill will here in Portland, where the moniker Stumptown was around long before Specialized was born. If I was Specialized, I’d work on DAMAGE CONTROL, not psuedo-name protection. They’re rapidly losing their Portland market over a locally made bike with very specific appeal. If Trek can name a bike the “Portland,” Mtn. Cycle should certainly not be challenged on its use of “Stumptown,” which for me doesn’t have enough relation to “Stumpjumper” to even warrant this dialogue.
    If Specialized does receive ANY gratification from Mountain Cycle, I will burn my trusty old Rockhopper in effigy.

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    Chris February 6, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    As a long time user of specialized products, I could care less about whether MC names their crappy cross bike the stumptown. It’s not going to compete with the specialized models that just recently came out. If anything, it’s competition is more likely the new Trek Portland and it’s niche is commuting (disc brakes).

    I currently own 4 specialized bikes (sworks road, sworks epic, 2 sworks cx) and have previously owned 4 other specialized road bikes. I wear specialized carbon shoes, body geometry gloves, glasses, and a decibel helmet. Why? Not just because my team gets sponsorship support from them, but because I feel that their product is superior, even to big brands like Sidi and Giro. Seriously they make the best products and they have a right to protect their brand name. This IS 2006 and the litigation process IS the reality of the business environment. Don’t hate on Specialized, hate on the lawyers that profit from it.

    I personally have nothing against MC nor the idea of a bike being called Stumptown.

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    Anonymous February 6, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    apparently you dont know good quality if it slapped you in the face if you think Specialized is the most superior product out there. but then again, you may not have anything to compare it with if thats all you use…. I dont think ANY bike industry employee (people who have a better understanding of bike products as a whole) would ever make the mistake of saying that. most of Specialized bikes and all of their parts and accessories are all made overseas in sweatshops in third world countries.
    do you care anything about who you buy from and where they have it manufactured in regards to the social and ecological impacts manufacturing impose???

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    fixedgear February 6, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    This can’t realy be good for Specialized. I see their point vis. trademark dilution but they come off as jerks. See also ‘Livestrong vs. Skidstrong.’ These cases tend to bring the masses squarely on the side of the little guy, though MC is not really ‘little.’

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    Chris February 6, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Well, I have used many other bike brands and accessories, including sidi and giro. Also many other bike companies. This includes trek, cannondale, kona, bianchi, redline, and rocky mtn. Certainly not all brands, especially the smaller operations such as MC. I would say that until the last few years, specialized accessories weren’t anything outstanding. Now, I feel that they are at or near the top. You may be referring to some insider bike shop wrencher insight I may not have, since I’m not a grease monkey, but from the perspective of a racer and consumer over the last 12 years, the products that specialized is putting out now have held up better and performed better than anything else for the money.

    The specialized carbon bikes are really good quality, and from a design standpoint, I have never seen a better frame design for cyclocross than the tricross. The paint, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Full suspension XC racing bikes… The Epic has no competition.

    I wouldn’t say that stuff made in taiwan is bad. There are a lot of pro teams riding taiwanese stuff. It’s does the job.

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    John Q Public February 7, 2006 at 12:08 am

    According to Specialized, the following places are Specialized dealers in and around Portland. Nice, simple action would be to let their dealer know if you are dissatisfied with all this nonsense. Though there are a couple very convenient bike shops on the list, I’m sure we all could get along spending our hard earned cash at bike shops that support our local economy (and not Specialized).

    RIVER CITY BICYCLES
    706 SE MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD
    PORTLAND, OR 97214 US
    (503)233-5973
    http://www.rivercitybicycles.com
    daveg@rivercitybicycles.com
     
    NORTHWEST BIKES
    916 NW 21ST AVE
    PORTLAND, OR 97209 US
    (503)248-9142
    hinckley6@attbi.com
     
    FAT TIRE FARM
    2714 N W THURMAN
    PORTLAND, OR 97210 US
    (503)222-3276
    http://www.fattirefarm.com
    info@fattirefarm.com
     
    BIKE GALLERY
    5329 NE SANDY BLVD
    PORTLAND, OR 97213-2564 US
    (503)281-9800
    http://www.bikegallery.com
    info@bikegallery.com

    KISSLERS CYCLERY
    10030 SW BEAVERTON HILLSDALE HWY
    BEAVERTON, OR 97005-3205 US
    (503)644-5008
    kisslers@cs.com
     
    LAKESIDE BICYCLES
    428 N STATE ST
    LAKE OSWEGO, OR 97034-3113 US
    (503)699-8665
    http://www.lakeside-bikes.com

    CLACKAMAS CYCLE WORLD
    11493 S E 82ND AVE
    PORTLAND, OR 97266 US
    (503)653-5390
    bob2hyd@yahoo.com
     
    SUNSET CYCLES LLC
    15320 NW CENTRAL DR #D-1
    PORTLAND, OR 97229 US
    ()
    http://sunsetcyclesnw.com
    roger@sunsetcyclesnw.com

    VANCOUVER CYCLERY
    10108B N E HWY 99
    VANCOUVER, WA 98686 US
    (360)574-5717
    http://www.vancyclery.com
     
    SHILOH CYCLERY LTD
    633 E POWELL
    GRESHAM, OR 97030 US
    (503)665-5538
     
    NEWBERG BICYCLE SHOPPE
    500 E FIRST ST
    NEWBERG, OR 97132-2910 US
    (503)538-8850
     
    BIKE PEDDLER
    174 COMMERCIAL NE
    SALEM, OR 97301-3401 US
    (503)399-7741
    http://www.bikepeddler.net
    joe@bikepeddler.net
     
    BOBS PEDAL POWER
    1111 HUDSON ST
    LONGVIEW, WA 98632 US
    (360)425-3870

    MOUNTAIN VIEW CYCLE & FITNESS
    205 OAK AVE
    HOOD RIVER, OR 97031 US
    (541)386-2453
    gorgebikes@gmail.com

    MICHAELS BIKE SHOP LTD
    248 N SPRUCE
    CANNON BEACH, OR 97110 US
    (503)436-1266
    http://www.mikesbike.com
    cycle@mikesbike.com
     
    PEAK SPORTS
    135 NW 2ND STREET
    CORVALLIS, OR 97330 US
    (541)754-6444
    peaksportsbikes@yahoo.com

    EUROSPORTS
    182 E HOOD AVE
    SISTERS, OR 97759 US
    (541)549-2471
    bsb@bendnet.com

    HUTCHS SPRINGFIELD CYCLERY
    2100 MAIN ST
    SPRINGFIELD, OR 97477-5070 US
    (541)741-2453

    HUTCHS BICYCLE STORE
    960 CHARNELTON ST
    EUGENE, OR 97401-3028 US
    (541)345-7521
    hutchsracing@aol.com
     
    COLLINS CYCLE
    60 E 11TH
    EUGENE, OR 97401 US
    (541)342-4878
    collins1@teleport.com

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    Brian Marcroft February 7, 2006 at 7:19 am

    Just another reason to support one of the many custom frame builders in the area.

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    Dan February 7, 2006 at 8:16 am

    I don’t think boycotting the local bike shops in the area that sell specialized is the answer. These guys are the life blood of this community and have been bullied by Specialized as well. I think the answer is to continue to shop at these stores, just buy an alternate product and let the employee know why you made your choice.

    D. Porter

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    bicyclejoe February 7, 2006 at 9:07 am

    No way I would drive a Honda Element, but I love REI’s Novara Element cyclocross bike. Seriously, this is ridiculous.

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    John Q Public February 7, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Dan, that is a good point that you make. I will definitely make sure to discuss the matter with the store/shop folks that carry Specialized stuff.

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  • From around the ‘net 1 » The Biking Hub February 7, 2006 at 11:33 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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    Brooke Hoyer February 7, 2006 at 11:35 am

    I think it would be great if MC or the Stumptown cycling community in general could fashion this as a fight between Portland and Specialized. The cycling press might get interested if Specialized decided it was a good idea to take on the town deemed best cycling city by Bicycling mag, the town actively pursuing platinum status, etc.

    Cast the fight that way and Specialized might look pretty silly.

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    Jonny P. Private February 7, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    So, isn’t it kinda silly to do all of this when it’s really between SBC and MC’s lawyers? Is that what it is about, or is it about gaining traffic on the bikeportland.org site? Just sayin…

    If you want more traffic Jonathan, do more name dropping… like ERIK TONKIN !!! BARRY WICKS !!! RYAN TREBON !!! CHRIS SHEPPARD !!! (oh wait, scratch that last one… unless you want to do a writeup on EPO Doping in Oregon Mountain Bike Racing… now THAT would bring in the traffic.)

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    Anonymous February 7, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    quote: “The specialized carbon bikes are really good quality, and from a design standpoint, I have never seen a better frame design for cyclocross than the tricross. The paint, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Full suspension XC racing bikes… The Epic has no competition.”

    PLEEEEEEASE! You cannot possibly be saying Specialized has the nicest full suspension XC bike out there… how about the Titus Racer X, Intense Spider or several other exotic bikes that arent mass produced by 11 year olds in Taiwan/China? With all the brands you mentioned in your post, I cant say you hold a very good opinion on the subject of what “best” means in the bike industry. Sounds like youre the king fan of production brand bikes, which is fine, but I think you ought to qualify yourself before making a comment about what is “best”. Yes, Specialized has made some very nice bikes, but they are a mass produced bike brand. You could even say they hit the high-end of the average bikes, but their quality is everything youd expect from a good mass produced brand…. decent to good welds, decent to good materials built by people who dont get paid enough so you can stretch your dollar with their cheap, hard work. Specialized’s carbon stuff has been mass produced overseas since the get go. I believe Giant was doing most, if not all of it. There is nothing special about the Specialized carbon frames other than the way they look. They are very heavy in comparison to their competition, there are many carbon frames with better ride qualities (this is subjective, so, this is obviously my opinion), there are frames that test stronger while being much lighter and many carbon frames that are stiffer. The Specialized carbon bikes are just another cookie cutter carbon bike (like many coming out of China right now) with nothing unique in its design or technology other than its aesthetics (if you like the way they look). Want a carbon frame??? buy a Deda carbon tube kit and glue one together yourself… (Ok, Im exaggerating to prove a point).
    Yes, I do agree with you that the shaped underside of the Specialized cross frame is nice. However, my moral integrity would easily look past this in order to use my dollar as a serious vote of what is right and wrong in this world. There are too many good designs out there to settle for a Specialized. If Specialized is your idea of “best”, Id have to say youre not looking hard enough…….

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    organic brian February 7, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Jonny P., what in hell are you talking about? What is “do all of this” referring to? The issue referred to in this article is not just between the lawyers, since it affects everyone who buys bikes and it affects the freedom of companies to name things what they like when the name isn’t already copyrighted.

    I also really don’t give a crap about mountain bike racing, or drug use issues in sports of any kind, the articles about Specialized and their legal bullying are much more interesting to me.

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    Anonymous February 8, 2006 at 8:51 am

    yeah, I dont care to hear about anymore racing crap and the names that go along with. there are plenty enough sites that already overglamorize that circle. this site is more about bike community, commuting and bikes as a lifestyle for health and well being, not to mention a lot better for the environment. take your car rack toting bicycle racing stories somewhere else where theyll gain more traction.

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    Dan Porter February 8, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Whoa Anonymous,

    I don’t think you can speak for the entire “bikeportland.org” community. I think you’ll find that a fair amount of people who visit this site on a regular basis are racers and are interested in that aspect. I personally am member of the BTA, PUMP as well as OBRA. I’m a year round bike commuter, bike racer, mountain biker, mountain bike trail access advocate and a supporter of local bike shops. In addition I ride my bike for the health & well being aspects. But you know what? I also have a car and on some cases I do load my bike on it to go on a trail or to race. Other times, I ride to the trail head or to the local races. We live in a dynamic bicycling community. Don’t try to label it based on what your interests are.

    Why do you think Jonathan asked Erik Tonkin to submit a few columns? Obviously because there was interest in hearing about our home town heros. If something doesn’t interest you, don’t click on the post. Geesh.

    It irritates me when people post “anonymous” posts like this as if they are too scared to back up their claims with their name. Kind of like the idiots that slam each other on Craigslist Rants & Raves…

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    Jonathan Maus February 8, 2006 at 10:24 am

    To Anonymous (comment 47): Thanks for letting me know what sort of topics you like most. Remember this site is about all aspects of the Portland bike community and that includes “car rack toting bicycle racing” as well as commuting and lifestyle coverage.

    To Jonny P. Private (comment 44): The Specialized/Mountain Cycle story has definitely increased traffic, but that’s not why I posted it. I wanted people to have a place to voice their opinions on the story…and you can rest assured that this story has now been read by people all over the world and at each of the companies involved. It will make a difference in the outcome.

    And thanks for your input on how I can gain traffic. So far things are going pretty well but I’m always open to new ideas.

    I just want to remind everyone how important it is to keep comments on-topic and not engage in personal attacks or rants about your pet issue. If you have something you need to express about the Portland bike community that has nothing to do with the original post, please consider taking it to the forums.

    Thanks for reading.

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    Rodman February 8, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    I belive that Specialized is wrong in this particular instance. Stumptown is something that has a long tradition in Portland. I believe that Mt. Cycle is just honoring the city in which the bikes are produced. Yet I kind of understand where Specialized is coming from. This is how I think Specialized views Mountain Cyle. I got this from the Kinesis web site.
    Mt. Cycle is part of Kinesis who is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of aluminum bicycle frames and forks employing around 1300 people at their 3 factories. They have factories in the U.S.A., Taiwan,and China. They also have/do made/make frames for these manufacturers:
    Bianchi, Bridgestone, Corretec, Diamondback, Felt, Kildemoes, K2, Haro,GT, Iron Horse, Jamis, Monark, Peugeot, Raleigh, Santa Cruz, Shappard, Specialized (interesting), and Storck, to name just a few.
    I would assume that Specialized views them as a threat because they are part of a larger entity that I would assume is a threat to there busines. I think but am not sure that Kinesis controls a large percentage of the bike market. Somewhere around 39% in 1999 not sure what now.
    I think Specialized over reacted but I can also understand why they may have done it. Doesn’t make it right though.

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    Jonathan Maus February 9, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Patrick (comment 21): Let me know what you have in mind for Sea Otter. Not sure if/how I can help with “diplomacy” but I’m open to your ideas.

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  • […] 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. […]

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    Hugo February 9, 2006 at 7:45 am

    Hey Chris,

    To continue our discussion on the whole “Expedition” thing; true the Ford came out in ’97 and the bike came out in 2000. But the use by Specialized of the name “Expedition” goes back to 1978 with one of their tire lines.

    I appreciate and applaud your skepticism, but I learned of this “letter of agreement” between Ford and Specialized from a Specialized rep. Not that he is all-knowing, but I’m pretty sure he’s got the inside-scoop on this one.

    Regarding the list of Specialized dealers, trust me, many of them are fully aware of the intensity of public opinion over this dispute. I also know one shop owner that contacted the president of SBC and let him know of his displeasure with this whole affair.

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    Randy February 9, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    Specialized appears ready to loose
    a chunk of the Bridgetown market if they
    push their cornball logic…

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  • […] Specialized responds […]

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    Jeff Chochon March 10, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    This action by Specialized to protect their trademark is too far. Stump Jumper and Stump Town? Please. Stump Town is, if anything, the property of the smart alecks who labeled Portland so long ago. Tenuous corporate ownership of organic witticisms is what I’m finding scary. How will future generations label these first years of the 21st century if Haliburton chooses to protect its Empire Borehole Surveillance product?

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    Alastair White April 12, 2006 at 10:42 am

    This is quite ridiculous. At any level, Specialized is losing any positive community image in favor of a corporate one; that is not condicive to good marketing in this niche.

    Secondly, noone is violating a copyright by any means, not even close. Their copyright is on STUMPJUMPER, not the word Stump and its different combinations. Heck, political candidates have people STUMP for them all the time. What about a Sette STUMP stem?

    Stumptown is not just a made up marketing word, in this case its a longstanding nickname (more than 25 years!) and a preexisting word.

    Logic dictates that Specialized has no leg to stabd on and is possibly using its relationship to muscle Mountain Cycle.

    THAT being said, I dount any of this has to do with MC going ‘under’ because there have yet to be any legal battles (and the associated costs) and it WOULD be loads simpler to drop the bike or retool the branding. Cannondale didnt suffer magnificently from losing the GRACIA, it is not a biz killer manoever.

    Kinesis however may have decided that fronting a brand was a conflict of interest potentially causing soured relationships with their clients (Which include Santa Cruz among others, and I aint boycottin them, nosirr…)

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    John June 14, 2006 at 11:03 am

    Since the nickname Stumptown dates back to 1847 and Portland is and has been ranked has a top cycling town for years, it is we who should sending Specialized cease and desist letters.
    Also, we could lobby the city council to name MC’s Stumptown Portland’s official city bike. (Like an official state bird.)

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    Brian August 17, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    “Xerox” and “Kleenex” are poor examples. Yes, they have come into common vernacular. No, if you try to sell tissue paper for blowing your nose into, you cannot call it Kleenex.

    “Frisbee” is another example. It is common vernacular, but look at brands other than Wham-O and you will find their product labeled “flying disk.”

    They percieve the need to protect their name in order to protect against a lawsuit against their use of “Stumpjumper” and it’s derivatives. They could very well win too, since they were around longer, the names are very similar, and the products are essentially the same. It’s up to the court to rule if the name is similar enough. Oddly enough, if Mountain Cycles were around before Speciallized (no matter how big they are compared to the giant), they could have been the one with the lawsuit aimed at the use of “Stumpjumper.”

    This is just how business works. Imagine how Campagnolo felt when it needed to rebrand an entire component line from “Daytona” to “Centaur” for similar reasons.

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    SKiDmark August 17, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    Personally I can tell the difference between a Stumpjumper mountain bike and Stumptown the city I live in. I can also tell the difference between an entry to mid-level mass-production mountain bike and a high-end cyclocross bike. Either Specialized is completely ignorant of the fact that Portland is called Stumptown (as evidenced by several local business that don’t seem to have a problem with sharing the name Stumptown) and is known for its cyclocross or they are feigning ignorance. Either way they are insulting my intelligence and I don’t like large corporations sueing (bullying) small ones over stupid things like names that are similar but not really similar when shown in context. So guess what Specialized? I will NEVER buy a Specialized product again, after being a consumer of your products (bikes, parts, tires, riding gear) since 1986. I don’t think I am alone on this either.

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    Chriss Pagani August 17, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Nope, you’re not alone.

    I made up stickers for my bike, renaming a Norco “Stumptown”, took pictures of it, mailed the pictures to Specialized with a note daring them to sue me.

    That was a long time ago and I still haven’t heard from them. Assholes.

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    George Mead August 21, 2006 at 10:54 am

    The name “Stumptown” is a historic designation of a place name- like calling France- Gaul as the Romans did. In intellectual property like this one the touchstone is “likelihood of confusion”.

    There is very little liklihood of confusion simply by using the term “stump” in common. Arguably, the name is in the public domain- like Gotham for New York- So you would have hard time mainiting a suit by Gotham Riders against Gotham Bicycles because they both used the nmae Gotham.

    Bottom line- Specialized is all wet.

    This is a piece of purely gratutious legal analysis which is worth exactly what you paid for it. 🙂

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