Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

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Chicago Transplant
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by Chicago Transplant » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:30 am

DArcyS wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:10 pm
Chicago Transplant wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:09 am
I agree with Martin, "backcountry" is a generic term. Its like Ohio State trying to trademark "The" (Which it did, and was denied).

I'll continue to support the local shops as much as I can, like Alpine Quest and Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards and Wilderness Sports in Summit for my backcountry needs.
Yes, back country is a generic term, but the issue is whether it's generic with respect to their goods and services. The big battle line in trademark law is whether the mark is descriptive of the goods or services, in which case the mark is afforded no protection, or suggestive of the goods or services, in which case the Patent and Trademark Office is happy to register the mark. Descriptive marks are not afforded protection because other companies must be allowed to use the descriptive term to sell their goods and services. So, does "back country" describe what they are selling, e.g., how does back country describe a hiking boot or ski? Or does back country only suggest something about their goods and services, such as where they are used?

So, I think the law is on Backcountry's side, but that doesn't mean they need to be pond scum. This tactic of consumer pressure is good. There's no need for a mark to sell goods and services if nobody is going to buy from them because they're acting like big jerks.
I think that what you are saying actually weakens Backcountry's claim. "Backcountry" is a descriptive term. It is gear for the backcountry. As you say, other companies should be allowed to use the same descriptive terminology. Perhaps the USPTO did not see it that way and is why they allowed them trademark, but most people I know use terms like "backcountry" interchangeably with other descriptors such as "touring", "randonnee", "telemarking", "skinning", "ski mountaineering" etc when describing the type of skiing activity they are participating in.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by Derby Ale » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:03 pm

cottonmountaineering wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:46 am
nunns wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:17 am
Scott P wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:26 pm
How does it work with companies that had the word backcountry in their name before backcountry.com existed (Backcountry Magazine, for example)?
For that matter, why doesn't Backcountry Magazine sue THEM?
Kind of reminds me of Notre Dame's overzealous enforcement of their name. Notre Dame I understand. Getting ND trademarked is a different story.
And thank goodness that sanity prevailed on Ohio State's attempt to trademark the word THE.

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Yes. The Steamworks/Cascadia(n) story had small breweries caving rather than spend money on litigation, and mostly adopted the name "Black IPA" instead of Cascadian Dark Ale. That is until they served Lefthand with a Cease and Desist. Lefthand turned around with a GFY.

Strangely, then Lefthand tried to do something equally douchey when they attempted to trademark the word "Nitro". They eventually abandoned the effort.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by DArcyS » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:38 pm

Chicago Transplant wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:30 am
DArcyS wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:10 pm
Chicago Transplant wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:09 am
I agree with Martin, "backcountry" is a generic term. Its like Ohio State trying to trademark "The" (Which it did, and was denied).

I'll continue to support the local shops as much as I can, like Alpine Quest and Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards and Wilderness Sports in Summit for my backcountry needs.
Yes, back country is a generic term, but the issue is whether it's generic with respect to their goods and services. The big battle line in trademark law is whether the mark is descriptive of the goods or services, in which case the mark is afforded no protection, or suggestive of the goods or services, in which case the Patent and Trademark Office is happy to register the mark. Descriptive marks are not afforded protection because other companies must be allowed to use the descriptive term to sell their goods and services. So, does "back country" describe what they are selling, e.g., how does back country describe a hiking boot or ski? Or does back country only suggest something about their goods and services, such as where they are used?

So, I think the law is on Backcountry's side, but that doesn't mean they need to be pond scum. This tactic of consumer pressure is good. There's no need for a mark to sell goods and services if nobody is going to buy from them because they're acting like big jerks.
I think that what you are saying actually weakens Backcountry's claim. "Backcountry" is a descriptive term. It is gear for the backcountry. As you say, other companies should be allowed to use the same descriptive terminology. Perhaps the USPTO did not see it that way and is why they allowed them trademark, but most people I know use terms like "backcountry" interchangeably with other descriptors such as "touring", "randonnee", "telemarking", "skinning", "ski mountaineering" etc when describing the type of skiing activity they are participating in.
Yes, you're right, "back country skis." But would you buy skis just knowing that they are "back country skis," or would you need to know more? Which is to say, are they telemark skis, skating skis, etc. So maybe "back country" isn't used by the people who actually sell skis to describe the skis. Nonetheless, you raise a good point, and if you're right, then some attorney will ultimately work to cancel their mark.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by bergsteigen » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:25 pm

For those on Facebook, there’s a group organizing support and even a GoFundMe for lawyers to tackle the issue.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/538528110277900

Over 5K supporters in 72 hours.

BackcountryDotCom has gone silent. No social media response, other than shutting down their public FB posts and Google is censoring negative reviews.

Bill has removed his BC/SAC affiliate links from this site, so be sure to use the other links!!!
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by climbingcue » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:53 am

I have spent a ton of money with Backcountry.com over the years. I am voting with my wallet, they will not get anymore of my money with their current business model.

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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by SurfNTurf » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:14 am

In the Colorado Sun article, one of Backcountry's trademark lawyers actually compares the company to Amazon. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

It's one thing to protect your trademarks. It's another to trademark an insanely common word like "backcountry" and bully everyone else that uses it. I don't think anyone would care if they were defending the full "Backcountry.com" name -- I get them going after other e-tailers like BackcountryGear.com -- but suing sandwich and coffee companies? GFY. Especially given the current trend within the outdoor industry to work and partner more together, instead of treating every other brand as pure competition. I guess this is what happens when you take something good, like the original Backcountry.com and Steep & Cheap, and sell out to a private equity firm. The Backcountry.com brand is no longer a member of the outdoor community, as far as I'm concerned. Add me to the list of ex-customers. (Though it does pain me to delete the Steep & Cheap app...)
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by Scott P » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:37 am

Since I had a product with the name "backcountry" before backcountry.com existed, can I sue them? I have the copyright (from 1994).

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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by Bill G » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:47 am

The trademark they registered is: The mark consists of a unique stylized image of a mountain goat within a circle and the word "Backcountry" to the right of the circle.

They have zero right to the word or term backcountry w/o the goat. So they will lose all lawsuits but they are hoping the small retailers will cave. The social media boycott is the right solution.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by CaptCO » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:56 am

Scott P wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:37 am
Since I had a product with the name "backcountry" before backcountry.com existed, can I sue them? I have the copyright (from 1994).


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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by kushrocks » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:33 pm

Currently over 7000 signatures and counting. https://www.facebook.com/groups/538528110277900
SurfNTurf wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:14 am

It's one thing to protect your trademarks. It's another to trademark an insanely common word. The Backcountry.com brand is no longer a member of the outdoor community, as far as I'm concerned. Add me to the list of ex-customers.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by semitrueskerm » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:59 pm

Simple solution. All owners of websites should sue Backcountry.com for trademark infringement by using ".com" in their name.
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Re: Consider Not Buying from Backcountry.com

Post by pfiore1 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:19 pm

Not only dozens and dozens of mostly small businesses with "backcountry" somewhere in their name, but also businesses that use a goat in their logo. Several businesses that have a goat in their logo, most of them not even resembling the dotcom goat, are also getting sued. And this has been going on for years.

I recently clicked on the fourth link that curt86iroc listed and holy crap that's a lot of lawsuits. Scraping the goat off my truck that I have had on for years and obviously no longer buying from them. Wouldn't surprise me if they try to sue this website for having an anti bcdotcom post and the boycott FB page.
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