Cycling in Sydney Australia
N.B. The above image can be considered Fair Dealing.
So a few months ago I rolled out a new design and logo for this site, and a few people commented on the chain links and their similarity to a certain other organisation. It was noted, humorously, that the "open" links of the chain here was a good contrast to the "closed" structure of the other organisation.
The similarity was accidental, I'd had the design sitting there for many months before I got to implement it here, and the process had kicked off some months before that.
"Bicycle Network is a charity that promotes the health of the community. We work with our supporters to get “More People Cycling More Often” and measurably grow the bike riding world"
So, a charity.
A charity sent me a legal letter a few weeks ago threatening me for infringing on their trademark. I hear through the grapevine they sent out a few letters that day.
A charity, spending their member's money on threatening other with essentially the same goal.
A charity promoting the health of the community that can't even be bothered emailing or writing to say "hey, like your new logo but think it's a bit close to ours, is there anything we could maybe do about it ?". Nope, straight to the lawyers.
I'm pretty upset about it. I find it frustrating that sites like this are here as a resource for people to meet, discuss, promote and generally do good, and along comes a charity that is meant to be on the same side and they go straight to the legal option. It's not like I'm making any money out of the whole deal, I run this site as a loss, my way of "being the change I want to see".
I had a talk to a few people in the know and general consensus is that the folks in charge at BN just "don't care" they don't see people as "on the same side" and really don't have any agenda other than their own.
So after getting some more advice I decided that while I could probably fight and win this one, I really didn't have the emotional energy to do it. Not to mention the spare cash to throw at lawyers of my own.
So on this one, I give up. Chain links gone.
Personally I'm pretty disappointed, I'd heard the stories about how much BN didn't like playing with others, now I've seen it firsthand.
If you'd like to tell Bicycle Network what you think, go right ahead. If you're a member and want to know what they are doing with your membership fees. That's probably a valid question too. I suspect I'm too small to make a dent for them, but if everyone let them know and shared this with your social networks maybe they will get the message.
Thanks for reading! I'm off to ride my bike.
Update : 15 Oct
To address a few of BN's responses to enquiries made to them.
1. My surname is spelled Maclennan, not Maclellan. I mean, if you're going to get all pedantic, at least get the details correct!
2. I've never said BN started legal proceedings, I said they threatened legal proceedings, via their lawyer. There's a difference and I want to be clear about it.
3. Yes people pointed out similarities between the logos, this was after I launched the new look of the site. Not before.
4. This wasn't "a gamble" that "backfired". It was a similarity between two logos, neither of us had the idea first (Go Google it, there are dozens of registered bike chain logos out there).
5. I decided it wasn't worth the fight and removed it. I'm not looking to blame anyone, I'm just walking away. What I did do though was express my opinion about the process that BN used rather than discussing the issue with me. Garry Brennan knows lots of the same people I do, we've been CCd on a lot of the same emails recently. There were much more constructive ways to handle this than having the lawyers issue threats.
6. BN have decided this reflects poorly on my character and I'm harming their reputation. I'll leave it to you guys to make up your own minds on that one.
7. You guys are all awesome!
I've lost all remaining respect* for Bicycle Network and the various other state organisations they own or are about to own...
* actually, there was none.
It`s a great disappointment to hear that and threats of legal actions. I`d agree with you that of the so called charity? who used the membership`s fund to fight you out of that lousy chain links logo.
Your chain links logo are different to that of the BN organisation.
I am not a member and will never ever pay membership of those Bullcrap Needless Vermin due to rip off fees. But I am a bike count volunteer every March and would you accept my offer to donate my service fee to you next year.
ps, loved your image to them and you have the right to say it.
Service fee for the bike count comes from local councils, not BN. Still, good thought. Happy to make a donation too Damo. BadNews Award to BN.
Thanks for your info, Bob.
Have to wait for Damian to reply, so we at SC who do bike counts next year to make donations to him for his great work done to connects the SC,BC and MC cycling communities to share the stories, infos and tips.
We of SC bike counters have to PM him for details on how to donate it so no one in public can see it if he agrees to it.
Shameful act by a body supposedly looking to improve cycling for the community . . . they have gone crazy with power. It just goes to show that when a body receives public funding it can be taken over by those desperate to get their hands on government cash and prove they are doing something to deserve more funding..... Shameful act by a body that doesn't play nicely with others.
I will attend their ride to work day on Wednesday 16 October and make my feelings known to them there. I will be representing the Freestyle Cyclists group and handing out cards on our behalf also.
perhaps we need a chain based logo resembling a steaming turd, to come up wherever these clowns are mentioned
Dear Bicycle Network,
Today, while riding in Sydney, I observed, what I believe is, a clear breach of your copyrighted Logo. I witnessed possibly hundreds of people who were cycling devices which flagrantly displayed your logo. These logos were being used to drive the rear wheel of their machine. Your logo is best observed when the device is stationary as, when moving, the logo is spinning rapidly - clearly a misguided attempt to diguise your legal property.
I believe the legal pusuit of the scofflaws would be an excellent use of your member's fees and look forward to these outlaws receiving their just deserts.
Well done Bicycle Network, it is so pleasing to see a peak cycling body putting so much effort into this important matter.
A Sydney Cyclist
A list of Bicycle Victoria Inc's trade marks can be found here.
They filed 8 in 2012 and seem to be rather keen on chain link images.
They Tm'd Ned Kelly
Anyone really need another reason not to sign up to BN(V)? Pretty uncharitable for a charity to be going about dishing out legal letters which I last heard cost around $50 apiece!
A wonder how many of these people got letters too.
Actually, not. It's very much BV SOP.
Trust the knife wounds in your back will heal, Damo.
Mine did eventually, but the seething hatred remains and is reinforced every time I hear of things like this.
PS. Love the "new" logo.