It seems that one of the biggest fish in the bicycle industry has felt the need to throw it's considerable legal weight around once again - this time regarding it's patent of the word Roubaix. For those familiar with cycling, Paris-Roubaix is a storied one day race, one of the monuments in cycling. It's name comes from two cities in France (one of which you may have heard of) and specifically the roads around Roubaix are known for their cobbled surfaces on which riders race standard road bikes, and have done so for over one hundred years.
Back to the court room, the Big S has decided that it's being threatened by 'Cafe Roubaix' - a local shop in Cochrane AB, and has served it's owner Dan Richter, a military veteran with notice of a suit defending the use of the word "Roubaix". This isn't the first time Specialized has taken to the courts to protect intellectual property (examples include Volagi and Epic) and it's been known to successfully bully smaller companies into submission using sheer legal scale.
A social media campaign to change twitter handles to include the word Roubaix has sprung up and this small shop is garnering a lot of media attention around this issue. Even a kickstarter campaign has started in Australia to help raise money for legal costs around this defence.
This certainly doesn't make Specialized look good, and many are boycotting it's products. As it stands right now, it's hard to say how this is going to shake out, but certainly our hope is that Cafe Roubaix continues to generate media around this cause and that Specialized does the right thing and backs down.