(Bloomberg) – Peloton Interactive Inc. gained cult status during Covid-19 as gyms closed, electronic exercise bike craze dominated, and first quarter sales of $ 1 billion.
One thing it couldn’t: use the term “spiders”.
Peloton petitions this week to erase a rival’s 20-year-old US trademarks for the terms “spin” and “spinning”, arguing that they have become common terms used in the exercise industry for abuse.
Mad Dogg Athletics Inc. has threatened trademark infringement litigation against “countless fitness industry participants” who use the terms “spin” or “spinning,” as Peloton has filed with the Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
“Spin class and spin bike are part of the fitness lexicon,” Peloton said in his petition. “Even five minutes of simple Google search shows that everyone in the world – except Mad Dogg – understands that” spin “and” spinning “are general terms used to describe some type of exercise bike and the in-studio class that goes with it. “
Peloton’s actions are not altruistic. The company is facing an infringement lawsuit filed by Mad Dogg in December over patents related to programmed exercise bikes. While the patent lawsuit filed in Texas contained no trademark claims, Peloton’s actions are retaliation to fight back Mad Dogg.
Venice, California-based Mad Dogg registered spin and spinning trademarks for stationary bikes and fitness classes in the late 1990s, long before the exercise bike craze began, and a decade before Peloton was founded in 2012 .
Mad Dogg has an entire page on their website, spinning.com, which explains the guidelines for using the terms, advises that only authorized dealers can use them, and that the company must protect its brand from counterfeiting. Company officials could not be reached immediately for comment.
Words like “escalator” and “folding beds” began as trademarks but lost their overuse protection known as “genericide”. Some commonly used brands like “Google” for internet search remain associated with specific companies and therefore may maintain their branding status, said Alexandra Roberts, professor of trademark law at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law in Concord, New Hampshire.
“When Peloton sums up evidence that many consumers refer to what they do on a Peloton bike as ‘spinning’, and especially when Peloton conducts a survey that shows that most people are not aware of ‘spinning’ Linking a single company may be able to cancel Mad Dogg’s registration, ”said Roberts.
Mad Dogg would still be able to use the terms, but so could anyone else.
Two weeks before the Christmas break, Mad Dogg urged Peloton to remove a video from its YouTube website showing a group of self-described “black doctors” on Peloton motorcycles who refer to themselves as “Mocha Spin Docs,” Peloton said in his records. “Mad Dogg protested because the word ‘spin’ was used.”
Peloton said Mad Dogg simply made an “unfortunate choice” when choosing the terms “spin” and “spinning” for its in-home bikes.
“Still, it has spent years bullying letter-of-fact letters and litigation to force people and businesses to stop using the exact terms they are authorized to use,” Peloton said in the petitions.
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