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!
Thanks. Email sent. I've told them they've got 7 days to remove my email addresses from all their lists; from this time a $100 processing fee will apply (I've decided my time is worth more than $50). I also attached a copy of all the emails I've received from them along with screen shots I took of the unsubscribe request, and another when I contacted them directly via their website (I've got so sick of unsubscribe functions not working I've been filing both for years - in case I ever needed them of evidence that yes, yes I have attempted to unsubscribe from your spam). No excuses, it's a clear and continuous breach of the Spam Act (2003) IMHO. One that's going to cost them $100 each and every time they decide to continue.
Got a reply from them, this time I won't call it unsolicited. He's asked me to pass on his email address to anyone else who's been unsuccessful in getting themselves unsubscribed - drop him a note and he'll look after you. Or so he promises:
Stuart Moysey stuartmo (at) bicyclenetwork.com.au
Good news. Hope it works this time.
I may be slow, but I just noticed this 50+ year-old event: http://3peakscyclocross.org.uk/three-peaks-cyclo-cross-history/ from which BV apparently had no problem with stealing the name.*
One law for them...
*Though I notice they now call their races simply "The Peaks Challenge". I wonder if they received a lawyer's letter.