The peloton fights to have the terms “spin” and “spinning” treated as generic terms, claiming that they have used common use despite being trademarked since the late 90’s, Bloomberg reports. This week, it filed lawsuits with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to try to discontinue both trademarks owned by Mad Dogg Athletics, claiming that “spin class and spin bike are part of the training lexicon” and that they are “generic. terms to describe a type of exercise bike and associated studio study. ”
Mad Dogg had previously filed a lawsuit against the Peloton, claiming that the products infringe on patents on motorcycles. Although the action does not claim trademarks, Bloomberg characterizes Peloton̵
There are many examples of product names that started as trademarks, but which eventually came into common use as product categories and lost their legal protection. Bloomberg notes that “escalator” and “murphy bed” are two high-profile examples of so-called “genericid”. But understandably, trademark companies are concerned with retaining the exclusive right to use and profit from them, and often go to great lengths to avoid terms like “Band-Aid” or “Xerox” becoming generic.
Mad Dogg Athletics uses a page on the site for how to use the terms. “These brands are brand names that serve to identify the unique training products and programs offered by Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.,” the company said, noting that they are “important business assets” to be treated with “care and respect.”
Mad Dogg’s website argues that consumers will be harmed next to the company if the terms become generic. “Loss of a brand,” it says, “denies consumers the ability to identify an original quality product developed with many years of experience for repeated satisfactory purchases.”
Peleton does not surprisingly disagree. In its archives, it states that Mad Dogg “has spent years on a bullying campaign demanding letters and lawsuits to force people and companies to stop using the words they have every right to use.”
“Enough is enough. It’s time to stop Mad Dogg’s tactics of making money by threatening competitors, marketplaces and even journalists with generic trademark enforcement,” argues Peloton’s filing.