Well, that escalated quickly! A story broken by the Colorado Sun last week about Backcountry.com filing trademark lawsuits against other companies with ‘Backcountry’ in their name spread like wildfire around the internet, to the point where #BoycottBackcountry was trending on Twitter and a Facebook group called Boycott BackcountryDOTcom had gained 15,000 followers.
Less than a week later, the CEO of Backcountry.com Jonathan Nielson has broken the silence, publishing an open letter to their site on Wednesday, apologizing and admitting they ‘made a mistake’, and also announcing their decision to drop a pending lawsuit against Marquette Backcountry Skis, a snowshoe-ski hybrid.
Here’s the letter below, in full:
A Letter to Our Community
Dear Backcountry Community,
We have heard your feedback and concerns, and understand we fumbled in how we pursued trademark claims recently. We made a mistake.
In an attempt to protect the brand we have been building for nearly 25 years, we took certain actions that we now recognize were not consistent with our values, and we truly apologize.
It’s important to note that we tried to resolve these trademark situations amicably and respectfully, and we only took legal action as a last resort. That said, we know we mishandled this, and we are withdrawing the Marquette Backcountry action. We will also reexamine our broader approach to trademarks to ensure we are treating others in a way that is consistent with the culture and values envisioned by our founders and embraced by our community.
We only want what’s best for the whole community and we want every person and business in it to thrive. Backcountry has never been interested in owning the word “backcountry” or completely preventing anyone else from using it. But we clearly misjudged the impact of our actions.
We understand that this step we’ve taken may not be enough for some of you. The hope is that we can ultimately win back your trust, even if it takes time. We are grateful to be a part of your lives, providing you with great gear for your outdoor adventures, and all we want is to go back to doing what we do best. We intend to learn from this and become a better company.
Maybe too little too late, the damage has been done and thousands have already pledged never to use the company again.