Backcountry.com sues number of small businesses for using the term ‘backcountry’

Online retailer also owns Competitive Cyclist in the US and AlpineTrek in Europe

A goat wearing a sweater stands outside a house in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Thursday Dec. 8, 2016. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Nov. 8 decision to ban high-value currency notes, effectively cancelling 86 percent of cash in circulation, was designed to stifle corruption and tax evasion, but many of the hardest-hit are workers in India's vast and intricate informal economy -- the small businesses, shops, weavers and countless other basic industries and services that employ more than 90 percent of Indian workers. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Backcountry.com, an online retailer based in the US that specialises in outdoor and cycling gear, has reportedly started suing small businesses across the US that use the term ‘Backcountry’ as part of their name. 

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Backcountry.com also owns Competitive Cyclist in the US and AlpineTrek in Europe.

According to Adventure Journal, which has been reporting on this story, as well as the Colorado Sun, Backcountry.com has filed suits against dozens of small businesses, including a Colorado based organisation called Backcountry Babes, which aims to provide women with “opportunities to explore and learn more about outdoor recreation”.

Adventure Journal also reports that Backcountry.com is suing at least one brand over the use of a mountain goat as its logo.

As you might suspect, this move hasn’t gone down well on social media, with American writer Joe Linsey voicing his reservations and garnering attention from many others in the industry. 

Furthermore, a @boycottbcdotcom twitter account has already sprung up, although at the time of writing it has only 18 followers.

The move is reminiscent of Specialized’s infamous dispute in 2013 with a small Canadian bike shop over the use of the term ‘Roubaix’.

Roubaix-gate was a PR disaster for Specialized that, following a similar reaction to this incident, was solved amicably.

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Given the prevalence of the word ‘backcountry’ in the outdoors and cycling industry and the number of brands (heck, even stores) using the phrase out there, we can’t help but hope this will come to a similar conclusion. Then again, given the sheer volume of suits that have been filed by Backcountry there’s every chance this one may take a little longer to resolve.