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.