Battle between Specialized and Café Roubaix ends peaceably

By Josh Patterson | Tuesday, December 10, 2013 9.15pm

The heated trademark dispute between Specialized and a small Canadian bicycle shop will end peaceably, with no legal action, following a conversation between the shop owner and Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard.

“I had a great conversation with Mike Sinyard today, and I am happy to let everyone know that things will be working out fine. We thank you for your continued support. You have all been so very awesome to us!,” wrote Café Roubaix owner Dan Richter on his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday.

The attempt by Specialized to defend the trademark "Roubaix", a name used for the company’s line of endurance road bikes, against Café Roubaix, a small bike shop located in Calgary, quickly turned into a massive PR disaster as cyclists across the world expressed their disdain for Specialized’s heavy-handed tactics via social media sites.

While the outpouring of support for Richter and the widespread criticism of Specialized may have played a role in Sinyard extending the olive branch, the fact that Specialized actually licenses the Roubaix name from Advanced Sports International (ASI), the parent company of Fuji (which has had a Roubaix road bike model in its line since 1992), SE Bikes, Kestrel and Breezer may have been the deciding factor.

According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, "ASI says it owns the worldwide rights to the Roubaix trademark ... and has licensed it to Specialized since 2003." And the company's International CEO Pat Cunnane says he is happy for Dan Richter to use the name for his bicycle shop.

"We have reached out to Mr. Richter to inform him that he can continue to use the name, and we will need to license his use, which we imagine can be done easily," Cunnane was quoted by BRAIN as saying.

If this is indeed the end of the battle between Specialized and Café Roubaix, the question becomes what, it any, lasting impact will this debacle have on the Specialized brand?

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