Roubaix

CochraneRoubaix, the finish 259.5 kilometres cycling classic Paris–Roubaix. But also a trademark two cycling companies are fighting over.

Dan Richter, a Canadian veteran who operates a tiny bicycle shop in Cochrane is being forced to change his store’s name Roubaix, after being threatened with a lawsuit by Specialized, a U.S. bike industry giant. Specialized claims trademark rights on the word Roubaix for a brand of road bike.

Richter claims, however, that the name is an icon of bike culture, and cannot be trademarked.

“It’s been frustrating” Richter states. “The response throughout this process (from Specialized) has been arrogant and almost unbelievably dismissive. We didn’t want to go public . . . but they’ve made it clear on no uncertain terms, they are going to sue.”

Larry Koury, managing director of Specialized Canada Inc., said the company is simply defending its legally owned trademark. “A simple trademark search would have prevented this,” Koury notes.

Richter states he is capitulating because he can’t afford the legal battle. So it seems this race has finished, before it even started.

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