Monday, December 9, 2013

Epic Wheel Works will change name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized

Portlander Jude Kirstein, who has spent two years making Epic Wheel Works a successful wheel building business, has decided to change the name of her company after finding out that Specialized Bicycle Components would enforce its trademark rights based on their use of the "Epic" brand.
Kirstein launched her wheel building business in 2009 out of a tiny, 64 square-foot shop in Southeast Portland. Despite a daunting economy and the niche focus of her business, her hard work was starting to pay off. Kirstein recently made her first hire and with a growing customer list, she has long outgrown her tiny space. In a big move for a small business, she plans to move into a new storefront in the coming weeks.

A few months ago, when a lawyer asked if she needed help with anything for her growing business, she politely declined. But the offer stuck in her head because she knew the "Epic" part of her name — which she chose as an homage to a memorable bike ride she took through South America years ago — was also the name of a bicycle sold by Specialized.
"Having to Cease and Desist isn't beneficial for me, it's heart breaking, and will set my business back considerably financially."
— Jude Kirstein, in an email to a lawyer representing Specialized
Kirstein was also well aware that Specialized is vigilant about protecting their trademarks. She remembers when they threatened Portland-based Mountain Cycle with a lawsuit over that company's popular "Stumptown" bike model (they felt it was too close to their "Stumpjumper" brand). She also knew of a small bike bag maker in Alaska formerly known as "Epic Bags" that received a Cease and Desist letter from Specialized. In response, that company decided to change its name to Revelate Designs.

Epic Wheel Works will change name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized |

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