Retailer: sorry about that overreaching trademark claim. Also, we’ve fired our lawyers.

Some outdoor enthusiasts launched a boycott of electronic retailer BackCountry.com after reports that it had unleashed a barrage of trademark lawsuits against various smaller companies that had sought to claim more specialized uses of the word “backcountry.” Company CEO Jonathan Nielsen published an apology and then, according to published reports, went a step further [Adam Ruggiero/Gearjunkie, Jason Blevins/Colorado Sun]

3 Comments

  • I thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail some years back. There are a LOT of seriously pi**ed off hikers out there.

    “The [Boycott Backcountry.com] Facebook group has since exploded to now over 19,000 members. When asked if he had spoken with anyone from the group, Nielsen said he had not: “I have not reached out to that group to open a dialogue. But I think that’s likely something that we’d be interested in moving forward.”

    I suspect that it will be a slightly cool reception, should he try. Who knows how many small, cottage industry types that were affected by this so-called “copyright” BS.

    2 points here:
    1) This is what you get when you let ridiculous copyright laws be put into place. Shame on you Congress.
    2) This is also what you get when the CEO, Board, PR guys, etc don’t keep their lawyers on a short leash – lawyers are there to execute business decisions, not make them. Then again, if the CEO et al let the lawyers run wild then they all need to be fired.

    Next up: Air Liquide, supplier of industrial gasses sues anyone with the word “Air” in their business name. Air Lingus – watch out. American AIRlines – ohhhh…you’re getting sued. Airstream and Airsoft – they tremble at the approach of our lawyers. Airbnb – better change your name now as the lawyers are working up their demand letters. Air Force (lawyer licks chops at the deep pockets there, although quickly realizes they can retaliate with guided missiles and then backs away slowly without making eye contact).

    • Air Liquide

      I was going to mention Airgas, which even operated in the same space… but Air Liquide apparently acquired Airgas in 2016.

    • Copyright?

      I believe this is a trademark issue, and I think it is possible to lose a trademark if you don’t take affirmative steps to protect it.

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