Outdoor enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that Backcountry.com is facing heavy public backlash for filing a series of lawsuits against other businesses with similar names. The retail giant trademarked the word “backcountry” in 2018 to protect its new line of outdoor clothing and equipment.
According to multiple media outlets, Salt Lake City-based Backcountry.com starting filing trademark lawsuits against smaller companies with “backcountry” in their names last year. So far, it has filed suits against Colorado-based Cripple Creek Backcountry, Michigan ski manufacturer Marquette Backcountry, Utah’s electric bike manufacturer Backcountry eBikes, an avalanche education group called Backcountry Babes and a small coffee company called Backcountry Nitro. As a result of the suits, which were filed in federal court, two of the companies have already changed their names.
Many consumers are unhappy with Backcountry.com’s aggressive tactics. Some have taken to social media to express their displeasure and announce their plans to stop supporting the brand. People have also started posting negative fake reviews on the company’s website as a form of protest.
The company began selling avalanche safety gear in 1996 from a garage and eventually grew into a retail powerhouse. It is now owned by California-based private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, which owns dozens of other well-known brands.
Trademark litigation can be complex, costly and expensive. They can also be public relations nightmares if handled incorrectly. A company facing trademark battles, copyright infringement disputes or other types of intellectual property litigation might benefit from discussing its case with a law firm. After assessing the case, attorneys might be able to suggest ways to resolve the issue without going to court. However, if litigation is necessary, legal counsel to assert your company’s trademark rights on your behalf.