So if you’re thinking about heading to the gym for a new years resolution, this might interest you:
‘Spinning’ Trademarked; Gyms Being Threatened For Holding Spinning Classes Sans License
* from the ride-that-bike dept
Who knew trademarks went to the gym?! Har har, the trademarks themselves don’t, but the people looking to turn a buck on a new fitness craze certainly would. And as far as the company “Mad Dogg” is concerned, they trademarked “Spinning” in 1992, created the mental association with stationary bikes and crazy popular routines, and now want to cash in… globally. From the article, it seems that gyms that get the cease & desist or license demand are just calling the classes “stationary bike classes” instead of paying up.
The other argument is that the term has become generic (or “genercide” – which is one of my favorite legal words, btw)… which is true, as far as the mental association is concerned. As I explained in my “Copymark my Traderight” post… trademarks are the legal protections for the mental association between a product and the company that makes that product. Companies like Xeros and Band Aid, which are arguably generic terms now, have huge marketing campaigns dedicated to protecting that trademark – thus “Xerox copies ” and “Band Aid brand adhesive bandages”. (Forgive the wiki-links, but I can’t find a link to their marketing materials, which I have seen in person.) Without that kind of effort, you aren’t taking “reasonable” precautions to defend the mark, and you therefore loose the ability to sue people for using it and can’t force them to license it from you. Which makes what this company is doing is completely backwards…
I’ll be interested in seeing what kind of impact it has, and if the issue come up again. I can’t imagine them having the funds to sustain a global licensing campaign, especially when all the gyms “have” to do is change the name of their programs.
In the mean while: as a fun little game – see how you do with this little web-test for genericized trademarks!
Can you name the brand names that are synonymous with these products?
(I got 33 out of 44.)
“Entertainer at Law”, Esq.
(Trademark as of yet unregistered, but slowly building recognition as a secondary trademark for educational and legal services rendered. Just sayin.)
(c) Nicole L. M. Jurkowski 2010