Battle between Specialized and Café Roubaix ends peaceably

Specialized backpedals on threat of legal action

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?

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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