Specialized v. Volagi verdict: Choi guilty, Forsman not guilty

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Really. Just read it ten minutes ago.

After more than a week in court, plaintiff Specialized was left with just one charge against Volagi, breach of contract by the two former employees. Just before noon, local time the verdicts came in: Robert Choi guilty of breach of contract. Barley Forsman, not guilty.

But the message may have been in the sentencing; Choi was ordered to pay just US$1 to Specialized. Volagi (@Volagi) tweeted the verdict via Twitter, “Specialized gets ONE dollar!” also noting that they are allowed to keep the Long Bow flex design, and ‘the color red.’


Damages? One dollar. One American dollar. And, they’re going to pay it in pennies.

We need a one hundred cyclist and each one must bring a penny. Planning a ride come with us

I don’t know these guys, but damn, I like the cut of their jib (that sounded totally gay).

About that buck, it’s called nominal damages. It means, essentially, that the legal argument won the day, but Specialized couldn’t show how they had been harmed.

Nominal Damages
A term used when a judge or jury finds in favor of one party to a lawsuit–often because a law requires them to do so–but concludes that no real harm was done and therefore awards a very small amount of money (for example, $1.00).

I heard about this matter, what, a week back? I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to dig into it. Seems a lost point now, but damn, how ’bout them apples? And, I suppose this case in now on the books as precedent in case some other corporate behemoth wants to put the smack-down on a couple of wayward former employees. A dollar… shit. I’ll be smiling all night after that one.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

31 Replies to “Specialized v. Volagi verdict: Choi guilty, Forsman not guilty”

  1. Unfortunately, the ruling perhaps means that the guys remain responsible for their own legal fees. A not guilty might have had Spesh cough up for those?

  2. Apparently Volagi’s legal bills came to $400K, so they end up paying $400,001 for Specialized’s bullying.

  3. From the article linked in the post above:

    Choi said they would, however, explore the possibility of recouping some of their own legal expenses. “Because they completely dropped the trade secret part of the suit, it allows us to go and potentially file suit for malicious prosecution,” said Choi. “We would obviously like to get our legal fees back and the damages that have been caused.”


  4. I love this…
    Specialized has bullied, and sued, myriad companies over the years. They finally got a small dose of comeuppance today.

    I really liked Sinyard’s BS response to the decision as well. You know we was just pissed OFF upon leaving the Courthouse.

    Volagi should send Sinyard an Edible Arrangement or something. Sure, they got sued, but you simply cannot BUY press like they’ve gotten over the past 2 weeks.

    If I had a spare $3k laying around, I’d buy a Volagi and ride the shit out of it!

  5. Oh, great. Now everyone will start making f*ing ugly bikes without fear of Sinyard suing them.

  6. “precedent”? “stare decisis”?

    just tryin’ to decipher the g-nomen-clature…

    oh and NUKE PHX!

  7. People only seem to be discussing the fact that the plaintiff in this case is a larger company. However, looking at the bikes Volagi has produced, they are a clear rip-off of Specialized’s design, right down to the Volagi logo.

  8. Tell those guys at Volagi that I would have never heard of their bike or their brand and especially would have never bothered to view images of it up close had it not been for the Specialized suit. So they got lots of publicity out of their legal fees. Paying the one dollar in pennies is just stupid and rather childish.

    As for suing Specialized for a malicious prosecution, you might lose so it’s not worth it. Besides, your sales of Volagis must have gone up and you guys are rock stars now, right?

  9. Wait, the fine is $1.00 and they’re asking for penny donations?

    Since when did getting sued become a charity case?

  10. Specialized sucks. I have used some of their stuff in the past, but no more. Kick the big bully in the nuts.

  11. …@ beth h…you might be right…i don’t “do” facebook but a friend said their fb page has been taking a lotta negative hits lately, so much so that the ‘administrator’ has been slow in removing them…

    …@ leland joseph adama…define ‘design’, please…if you’re talking paint schemes (cosmetics) i’ll grant you that there is a similarity but then again, look at the paint schemes of 50 of the top bicycle brands in the world & tell me that there aren’t a lotta similarities…

    …if you’re talking actual physical frame design, clearly you’re not looking at details…& again, compare the overall look of the top 50 brands…lotta similarities but the difference will be in the details…

    “pennies, pennies from heaven…da da dee da dee da da, da da da dee…
    …So when you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree
    There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and for me…”

    …& while it did cost the volagi guys a lotta time, effort & money, as others have pointed out, the publicity they’ve received couldn’t be bought at a cheaper price…now everybody knows their name & the type of bike they produce…

    …why, it’s almost like “pennies from heaven…”

  12. A quick note – I did get a good laugh out of the Specialized lawsuit. But, I do also own a Specialized road bike. It’s a nice bike, I like it a lot, and I have no plans to get rid of it any time soon.

    (Notice I did not say that I wouldn’t be buying any additional bikes. Hello, my name is jonny, and I have a problem…)

  13. …reading your comment, gianni, i’d mention that while i might have a few things to say about how ‘specialized’ goes about their business, i’m sure their bikes are as well engineered as anybody’s…

    …& ummm, help yerself to coffee & cookies in the back…

  14. I know i’m just pointing out the obvious, but the big S’s r&d has had trickle down benifits for most of us. If you ride a dual sqish,one way or another S is partly responsible. Good thing too. I love my bike with a dual link (Niner). Way more than i ever liked my Stumpy. Competiton is good. Keep your FSR, there is a better way!
    Wonder how that law suit with Stan’s is going? Now Stan is the real deal,and I hope the big S has to pay dearly for that one. I WILL do all i can to support the little guy from up there in New York, but it will be a very cold day indeed before i grace my bike with any rolling product from Specialized.

  15. I’m no legal expert ( help me Obi Wan BigJonny, you’re my only hope!) but I do work in technology. Does this mean that my employer owns all my ideas or not? Does that include ideas I come up with on weekends and on vacation?

  16. …cholla magnet…amigo, if you fart on the weekend, your company can sue you for breaching their ‘propulsion drive system’ techno-project…

    …i’m just sayin’ ‘be careful’

  17. Thank God there’s no money to be made in rigid fixed gears, or most surely I’d be fucked.

  18. I’m just a novice but the frames look diff to me.

    Leland Joseph Adama is a specialized troll.

    The worst kind of all.

  19. …you want a pissing contest, leland joseph adama, find somebody who likes to quibble…

    …both my statements stand alone, correct & need not be redressed…

    …& yes, you do sound like a troll for ‘specialized’ whether you actually work for them or not…perhaps you can submit a resume, as needs be…

  20. http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/sport/



    These are just a couple of examples, but which bike does the Volagi most resemble? The previous or any of the above links?

    @bikesgonewild, you were the one that wanted to split hairs over terms, “define ‘design’, please…” I’ve seen nothing to support the statement, “their fb page has been taking a lotta negative hits lately.” Further, I see no reason to become angry when simply asked two questions similar in tone to the one you asked, then to resort to name calling along with @TripleF.

  21. Never thought I would see a Battlestar Galactica reference on this site. I guess I was wrong. Damn I’m a geek. “leland Joseph Adama is a character from the show.” I knew the name sounded familiar so I went and looked it it up.

  22. …virgil mutha fuckin rufus…hmmm, i wonder if michael sinyard is a ‘battlestar galactica’ fan…

    …just thinkin’…