Peloton Seeks To Invalidate 'Spinning' Trademark Held By Trademark Bully

from the spin-cycle dept

Back in 2010, we discussed that the at-the-time "spin class" craze in the fitness world was encountering the fact that one company, Mad Dogg Athletics, held a trademark on the term "spinning" for use in the fitness industry. Mad Dogg had taken to going around the world and threatening anyone else using the term with trademark infringement as a result. And, to be clear, they had a lot of targets for these threats, which factored into the argument that term was now generic and hadn't been properly enforced as a trademark for years.

Since 2010, the spin class craze has morphed out of the brick and mortar gym and into home fitness, with the current fad being app-driven home stationary spin bikes. The leader in that field is, of course, Peloton. Mad Dogg sued Peloton for trademark infringement last year over patents it holds for core features of its bikes. In what may be something of a clap back in that dispute, however, Peloton has now petitioned to have Mad Dogg's "spinning" trademark canceled entirely.

Peloton claimed that rival fitness company Mad Dogg Athletics is “abusively enforcing” its trademark rights of ‘Spinning’ and ‘Spin’ across the indoor biking industry in a petition filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (USPTO) yesterday.

The petition argued that the terms are generic and that Mad Dogg’s lawyers have been ceaseless in their campaign to chase down infringers. It also cites John Baudhuin, co-founder of Mad Dogg, admitting to spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year” on litigation.

This is Peloton calling out the game, which is very useful. Rather than focusing primarily on the business of selling spin bikes, Mad Dogg instead seems to be focused on policing its trademark. The argument that the term "spinning" has become generic is only bolstered by the high volume of victims of Mad Dogg's bullying. In addition, it would be interesting to see Mad Dogg attempt to come up with any evidence that the wider public currently associates the term with its products, because that feels like it would be a stretch to say the least.

Peloton's petition calls out the extremes to which Mad Dogg has gone in its bullying.

“Enough is enough. It is time to put a stop to Mad Dogg’s tactic of profiting by threatening competitors, marketplaces and even journalists with enforcement of generic trademarks.”

Imagine the instant good the USPTO could do simply by invalidating a trademark for what has become a generic term in the fitness industry.

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Filed Under: spinning, trademark, upsto
Companies: mad dogg athletics, peloton


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 7:55pm

    I wanna give a fuck, but I don’t give a fuck. Shut this shitty website down already. Nobody cares. You’re irrelevant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 8:23pm

      Re:

      thanks for taking the time to leave a message because this site left you spinning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 9:34pm

      Re:

      Is your problem that your parents think the same thing about you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 9:57pm

      Re:

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 11:02pm

      Re:

      "Nobody cares" says person moved to regularly and angrily comment on articles... almost as if they care...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 12:18am

        Re: Re:

        ... And are absolutely furious that others care about a site that's more successful then they ever will be.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 1:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Which makes it even funnier. If this guy dedicated his time to insightful comments about what is wrong with the articles and tore them down in such a way that people might be persuaded to agree with him, that would be one thing.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 1:39am

      Re:

      Hi, antidirt. How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along now he got shut down by the government? Suck off any Covid Trumpers lately? You copyright-flavored waste of space.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 9:24am

        How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along now he got shut down by the government?

        I assume it got shifted to the defense fund of a certain other high-profile failure who has a lot of legal issues ahead of him in the near future.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boris, 18 Feb 2021 @ 8:22pm

    Spin? Peleton?

    Spin is a common word that refers to something in the general cycling domain.

    However, while it might not be universally common - the word "Peleton" is also in common usage in the cycling domain.

    Something something glass houses?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 4:03am

      Re: Spin? Peleton?

      Spin is a common word that refers to anything that moves in a rotational motion. It may or may not refer to something within the physical fitness realm.

      Restricting word usage in order to bolster ones own image is petty, the infringement is in their heads.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        mikey, 19 Feb 2021 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re: Spin? Peleton?

        Spinning very definitely has a meaning in the cycling and fitness domain and very specific one. One that has been used for decades.

        Spinning is pedaling at high RPMs and a relatively light individual pedal stroke as opposed to going in a higher gear and each pedal stroke is much harder (they are known as mashers).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Spin? Peleton?

          That's cool and all.
          The etymology of the word helps understand its usage in context, which can vary wildly. There are many things that spin, the exercise industry is a bit presumptuous.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 4:06am

      Re: Spin? Peleton?

      That is not how trademarks work though. Trademarks are specific words and images associated with a product or service. Zoom, for example, means to fly through space on a rocket, however the word Zoom can be trademarked for an internet communications service and I think was previously trademarked for a line of blistering fast 56k modems.

      Spin was the same way, but it became generic as it was easier to say "spin" than "attend a stationary bicycle training to terrible really loud music class".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    harsh shah (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 11:45pm

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 12:24am

    Picked the wrong target

    Always a fun time reading about a trademark bully going after the wrong target and finding their legal bludgeon of choice at risk of being taken away, completely nullifying their ability to continue their legal thuggery in the future.

    Hopefully the USPTO will get this one right and revoke the trademark, because it sounds like Mad Dogg has not only shown that the term shouldn't be trademarkable in the first place due to how many targets they've gone after but that they can't be trusted to responsibly use the trademark even if it was valid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 5:33am

    No one should be able to trademark simple generic words like spinning
    trekking etc
    it simply invites copyright trolling and potentially reduces competition
    in the market place .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      No one should be able to trademark simple generic words like spinning trekking etc

      It's fine to trademark simple words, the problem is trying to enforce the trademark against people using them in the generic way. No problem for Trek bicycles to have that trademark, and stop anyone else from making bikes called Trek. Big problem if they try to stop people going for a backcountry hike referring to it as a trek.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 11:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Indeed, that's the only way that trademarks can possibly work in the real world. Otherwise, you'd get Paramount and CBS suing thousands of hiking companies because they own the idea of "trek" referring to Star Trek.

        Of course that doesn't stop the likes of Monster suing people for use of that word where it shouldn't belong, but at least most companies seem to understand that they shouldn't be doing that right now.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tanner Andrews (profile), 23 Feb 2021 @ 12:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          the likes of Monster suing people for use of that word where it shouldn't belong

          Which one? We all know about the ``monster cable'' folks, but there is also an unhealthful beverage called ``monster energy''.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 23 Feb 2021 @ 12:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Good point. Both companies have been idiots in this area, though I seem to remember seeing the energy drink guys being the ones with most lawsuits recently. Neither of them should have any business issuing lawsuits outside of their areas of trade, but that doesn't stop them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 5:35am

    Spinning

    I always thought spinning was generic; this article is the first I've even heard of Mad Dogg..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 2:01pm

    Opening a Windows...

    Am I the only one who can't help but remember that time, when Microsoft tried to sue a "non-techie" Linux distribution over alleged infringement of it's Windows trademark -- and ended up settling out of court (paid the Linux distributor several million $US to change it's name) for fear of having the court nullify it's extremely generic Windows trademark?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Feb 2021 @ 4:57pm

    On a related topic ...

    ... I've taken a "spin" class, and it still makes no sense to me. I know how to pedal a bike; why would I need someone to keep telling me to do it faster and harder and standing, or whatever?

    I can't believe this is a thing.

    If you applied the same exercise to running on treadmills, you'd (rightfully) feel like a moron. Yet here we are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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