Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc., more commonly known simply as Specialized, is a major American brand of bicycles and related products. It was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard and is based in Morgan Hill, California.
Specialized has a history of aggressively protecting its trademarks.
In 1990, Specialized tried to sue RockShox Inc, claiming the company’s name too closely resembled the bicycle model name Rockhopper. The case was ultimately dismissed with prejudice.
In 2006 Specialized sued Mountain Cycle over its use of the model name “Stumptown” (nickname for Portland), alleging it resembled the Specialized model name Stumpjumper. Mountain Cycle closed doors shortly thereafter.
In 2009 Specialized had a trademark dispute with a manufacturer of bicycle bags, Epic Designs, now Revelate Designs.
In 2011 Portland wheel builder Epic Wheel Works was forced to change its name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized.
In 2012 the company sued two former employees after they started the bicycle brand Volagi. Specialized lost on all accounts except one and was awarded one dollar in damages after spending 2.5 million dollars on the lawsuit.
In 2013 Specialized mailed a small bike shop owner in Canada a cease and desist letter over its use of the city name Roubaix in its shop name and wheels, the name of a town in France that rose to prominence as a textile center in the 15th century and has hosted an iconic bicycle race since 1896. This follows on from Specialized’s trademarking of the word in Canada.
The situation and behavior towards the shop owner caused some reactions from cyclists worldwide in the days after a story on the matter was published by the Calgary Herald in early December 2013.
On the 9th of December Fuji Bikes owner, Advanced Sports International of Philadelphia said that in fact, they are the legal owner of worldwide rights to the Roubaix trademark. Fuji has had a Fuji Roubaix road bike model in its lineup since 1992, and has licensed the name to Specialized since 2003. However, as it is not currently possible to have a trademark worldwide, Fuji has no rights to allow use of the trademark in Canada.