Specialized – The statement

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A statement from Mike Sinyard has been posted on Specialized’s Facebook page offering an apology and explaining the reasons behind the Cafe Roubaix trademark action. Here it is in full…

I Screwed up, and I own it

I would like to apologize and let everyone know I realize I handled this situation wrong from the start and I’m very sorry for that. As many of you have probably already seen by now, I went up to Café Roubaix to meet with Dan in person to apologize and make good with him. Café Roubaix will continue on with its name. The video is up on Café Roubaix’s Facebook page. Dan is the real deal, after meeting him I realize this and am embarrassed by how ridiculous this is. What happened was wrong. There are no excuses but I do feel like I owe it to you all to explain how we found ourselves in this situation, the lessons we’ve learned from it and, most importantly, how it will change the way we do things moving forward.

Counterfeit Specialized
Counterfeit Specialized goods

Over the past few years we’ve seen a massive spike in counterfeit products, and most of the riders have no idea these products are fake, which is extremely dangerous because the risk of failure on these untested products is extremely high. In one instance, the entire head tube and fork sheared off a counterfeit Tarmac, causing the rider who had no idea he was not on a genuine Specialized product to faceplant and destroy his shoulder. To give you an idea of how much this issue has blown up, 10 Specialized employees hunt fake products across 30 major ecommerce platforms, we’ve identified over 5,000 listings, worth $11,000,000 USD in counterfeit goods since January 1st of this year alone. This is about double what it was last year. Due to this we have recently gone after IP and trademark issues more aggressively in the interest of protecting the safety of riders and the livelihood of our dealers and their hard-working employees. See the attached picture to understand how dangerous fake goods are.

In the deal with Café Roubaix, the wheels were the red flag that got the attention of our outside attorney’s who were already sort of on red alert for anything that pops up, although Café Roubaix wasn’t in the same camp as the counterfeiters, they still got caught in the crossfire. There is so much activity with infringers that it’s overwhelming and I don’t see them all. The first I heard of it was Saturday morning and by Monday the thing went huge. But still, that was my fault, which is why I’m so embarrassed. I should have called Dan immediately.

I heard you and you can rest assured I took it to heart. I realize now that we went too far with this aggressive approach and as a result and in some cases we hurt the local bikes shops and small businesses we wanted to protect. As a result we’re going to take a much closer look at all pending and future intellectual property and trademark issues, making sure to only pursue those that present a clear and obvious danger. The letter on Epix Gear was issued before the Café Roubaix story broke and has since been pulled.

I handled this very poorly and I own full responsibility. Dan at Café Roubaix and I have become friends and he’s happy with the solution. I hope you too accept my sincere apology. Like you all, I’m passionate about cycling and want to do everything possible to grow the activity we all love.


-Mike Sinyard

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Comments (13)

    Thank goodness for that, I can now pop out and buy a Specialized Purgatory tyre without feeling guilty!

    I’m still not convinced. Neither of the recent companies were pretending to be specialized so the excuse seems a little weak to me.

    what about older ‘wounded soldiers’ i.e. Revelete née Epic Designs, do they get anything out of this from the hassle, turmoil and expense of historical rebranding.

    Top respect to Mike Sinyard for admitting Specialized attorney’s got it very seriously wrong and promptly sorting out the error with a personal visit to Dan Café Roubaix. Applause all round.

    What is more disturbing are the fake components in circulation! Not sure if you read the comments but an article on counterfeit bikes/bikeparts and how to spot a dud might be an idea for a future magazine article.

    When the top man admits he’s wrong,takes it on the chin and gets on his bike to visit the guy,square it up and shake hands then you cannot ask for anymore than that.Well done Mike Sinyard.

    Think I might open the Cafe Tarmac next year, or possibly the Venge Venue Cafe… I’m sure it’s all good publicity for the cafe owner!

    Nice apology. Good bit of context. No attempt to wriggle out of it. Nicely done!

    I remember one of the other magazines did an article on fakes.
    I think Chris King components were mentioned mostly.
    The differences were difficult to spot at first glance.

    Great idea for an article though.

    Fair play Mr Sinyard. Seems open and no attempt to duck the fact they got it wrong. Good background too it as we’ll.
    However, I assume the staff and lawyers (particularly) were reasonably well paid and intelligent people. Time for a new set of lawyers and maybe employees…

    Yup, well back-tracked. His statement sounds like a friendly fire incident while ‘engaging insurgents’ in I-raq though – pretty militaristic (if that’s a word)

    Yep a fair bit of cop out and deflection going on there, also blaming (probably rightly) some over egar legal bods who were just making some cash.

    Spesh have done the right thing here. In the good old USA its common practise to fire first and ask questions later re IP. I have been on the wrong end of a few of these including one cease and desist writ from a certain hi tech “fruit” supplier who threatened to put us out of business if we did not remove a spoof logo from the screen of one its devices in jokey blog we penned. They were on to us within 24 hours and the cost of even starting a discussion with their San Francisco lawyers was eye watering. Hell would have frozen over before this lot would have backed off, but then if your business is run a obsessive control freak with a history of bullying people what do you expect ?

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