Is Suing Anyone Who Uses Its Namesake: Is This Fair?

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News is suing small business owners. (whose logo is a white mountain goat) has filed dozens of lawsuits against small businesses, from pants to avalanche safety clinics. Credit: Moldy Chum

The e-commerce behemoth is suing small business owners that have trademarked the word “backcountry”. A year ago, filed for trademarks protecting the word “backcountry,” on their outdoor gear. Since then, the company has filed dozens of lawsuits and protests within the U.S. Patent and Trade Office targeting businesses that have trademarked the word “backcountry.”

The fairness of this move by has come into question. Is this a strong-armed business tactic by the website, or just plain bullying?

“My feeling is that nobody should have the right to the term ‘backcountry,’” said Jordan Phillips, owner of Backcountry Denim in an article by the Colorado Sun. “It’s like trying to trademark ‘road’ or ‘beach’ or ‘mountain.’”

Phillips was sued earlier this year in California federal court by for the usage of the word backcountry in his company name. 

In February, the e-retailer sued Utah bike-maker Backcountry eBikes and the company had to settle and is now known as Backcou eBikes. In March, sued Backcountry Denim, an American-made outdoor jeans company started by Jordan Philips in 2017. Then, in July, Backcountry sued Constellation Outdoor Education, which trademarked the name Backcountry Babes for its Colorado-born, women-focused avalanche education clinics.

Some are asking just how far will go, as the trademark database at shows 316 businesses using the word “backcountry.” The list of businesses in’s potential line of fire is long, ranging from guiding outfitters, ski and safety gear, tires, liquor, film festivals, coffee shops, angling equipment, and much more., through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the flurry of lawsuits. 

Credit: Crosscut

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10 thoughts on “ Is Suing Anyone Who Uses Its Namesake: Is This Fair?

  1. So I was talking to a Lawyer friend of mine the other day about this, and he told me the BC was pretty much obliged to do this…..I know it sucks, but if they don’t “enforce” there name and allow others to use it, they could be the subject of a lawsuit themselves down the line, by another entity. It was explained to me that it was similar to eminent domain, where if you allow someone to use your property for a certain amount of time, they can claim it is theirs.
    Im not saying is right-but it is an interesting perspective in this litigious society we live in.

    1. Lawyers always drink the corporate coolaid. Just because your company has more money than another should not mean you can own an adjective. They are just bullying smaller companies, as I see they are not suing bca and they’re law team. So I’m not a backcountry skier anymore? maybe a free skier? If that’s still free these days

  2. Unfortunately the courts are not about fairness. They are about power. In this situation Backcountry has most of the power. I am happy to share the small amount of power I have to influence to back off. Let’s hope that lots of others do the same. I have been a customer in the past but I won’t be again till they change this business strategy. The only thing with more power than a team of lawyers is lots of angry customers on Social media

  3. you’d think a company the operates in the backcountry space would understand the value of “sharing” things. like sharing the backcountry lines.

    or a word. it’s just a word. get over your corporate selves, backcuntry.

  4. The goat sticker is definitely the new gaper call out. If you see one of these corporate bastards let them know they support an awful business.
    Just dont provoke them too much as they obviously will lawyer up.
    Spend your money at brick and mortar small family run shops people!

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