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      Now you can be sued for using the term "Backcountry"

      Now you can be sued for using the term "Backcountry"

      Posted by Simon Tjernström

      Photos by Ridebrain

      2019-11-05 13:46

      An American-owned e-retailer - Backcountry.com - have sued dozens of companies using the word backcountry. Heck, they even sued ”Backcountry Babes,” a women only avalanche safety courses.

      A year ago Backcountry.com trademarked the word ”backcountry” for all sorts of outdoor gear as the e-retailer launched backcountry branded ski apparel and skis. Then they went on a war path.

      Backcountry.com was founded by ski bums in Utah 1996, but is owned by private equity firm TSG Partners since 2015.

      Backcopuntry.com.pngOn behalf of the e-retailer, attorney John H. Kim filed for trademarks for hundred of pieces of gear last year including tailgate pads for bikes in pick-up beds, climbing ropes, crash pads for rock climbing, avalanche probes, ski goggles, ski helmets, bike tools, water bottles, bedding, camp chairs, duffel bags, dog leashes, climbing skins, chalk bags and women’s clothing.

      "It’s like trying to trademark ‘road’ or ‘mountain,’ says Jordan Phillips, manufacturer of jeans company Backcountry Denim who are being sued to the Colorado Sun."

      At the same time the company announced it joined forces with outdoor manufacturers Flylow, Black Diamond, Smartwool and DPS to launch their own branded lifestyle and backcountry ski touring collections. The new products carry the company’s signature white mountain goat.

      The e-retailer sued Utah bike-maker Backcountry eBikes in February. After the settlement the bike-company is now called Backcountry eBikes. In July they sued Constellation Outdoor Education, for their Colorado-born, women-focused avalanche education clinics, called Backcountry Babes. They reached a settlement less than three weeks after. All settlements so far are sealed but we know from David Ollila, a entrepreneur and inventor of the Marquette Backcountry Ski (who are also being sued), Backcountry asked for ”three times all the profits he’s ever made selling the Marquette Backcountry Ski as well as legal fees and a penalty.” The first year of sales Ollila sold $97,000 worth of skis.

      Edvin Sverre Hajkar.jpgHiking the "not-piste-area," better stay safe.

      Several companies out of the 316 listed using the word backcountry have changed their names recent months due to the turmoil.

      In March, Backcountry.com sued Phillips, the man behind Backcountry Denim who he got started by raising 41.000 dollars on Kickstarter.

      “I reached out to other companies under fire and either they wouldn’t respond to me or simply could not afford the legal fees to fight,” Phillips said to the Colorado Sun. “Understandable, as these cases can rack up high six-figure legal bills fast and take immense amounts of time.” 

      He cannot further comment the settlement reached but his trademark for Backcountry Denim was canceled in August 2019. He no longer owns his website and his social media channels are closed. He rebranded as BDCo.


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