The example is a harsh reminder to trademark counsel of the worst case scenario when a trademark enforcement campaign comes under fierce public attack.
In response to the boycott and backlash, Backcountry.com not only issued a public apology, it admitted to fumbling how it pursued trademark claims, it admitted to making a mistake and to misjudging the impact of its actions.
Last but not least, especially for all the trademark types in the crowd, news reports in November were that Backcountry.com had fired its trademark counsel.
Not knowing the facts of how or where things may have gone wrong with prior counsel, it will be interesting to see what enforcement will occur going forward.
Back to the webinar, we also focused attention on strategies and tactics brand owners can employ to develop intelligent trademark enforcement campaigns.
One slide that webinar attendees really liked from our backpack is this one:
Obviously a precursor to its development would be a trademark strength analysis.
Keep in mind, this particular graphic is only an illustration; the perfectly spaced concentric circles should not be interpreted as trademark lines, as we know trademark lines are more subjective than measurable real estate property lines.
The final graphic for a brand would reflect not only an intelligent and defensible trademark enforcement strategy, but attempts to balance any PR concerns too.
With all binoculars on Backcountry.com’s promise that “[w]e only want what’s best for the whole community and we want every person and business in it to thrive” time will tell what tools may remain in new trademark counsel’s backpack.