I interviewed Mike Sinyard, president of Specialized Bicycles, regarding his company’s claim against the bike shop in Alberta that is allegedly infringing on Specialized’s Canadian trademark of the word “Roubaix.”
Wankmeister: Thanks for taking time to speak with me about this, Mike.
Mike Sinyard: The pleasure is all mine. ‘Cause you know, every CEO likes to start his Monday morning with a hot public relations poker jammed up his ass.
WM: Um, I see. So, what’s the company’s stance on this matter as of today?
MS: Stance? It’s the same that it’s always been. We will tear that Afghan war vet a new asshole if he doesn’t change the name of his shop, his custom wheels, and, according to the latest news from our investigator, his scroungy fucking mutt, who is also apparently named “Roubaix.” What is it about WE OWN ROUBAIX that this dickwad doesn’t understand?
WM: A lot of people think you’re bullying this guy.
MS: A lot of people? You call these d-bags people? I’ll tell you what they are. They’re Twitter-cruising, Facebook-whoring, email dipshits who don’t like to ride their bikes in the cold and would rather piss away the weekend complaining about us exercising our Scalia-given rights. You think anyone would have given a shit if we’d done this in July?
WM: You’ll agree that it is kind of hard to understand how a consumer would confuse this guy’s little shop with, you know, the Specialized “Roubaix” bike frame.
MS: You know what’s harder to understand?
MS: All these crackheads who pretend to care for some brokedown bike shop in communist Canada. These are the same hypocrites who buy all their shit online. Why do you think Specialized has concept stores? It’s to stamp out little shit shops like this.
WM: It just seems like the negative publicity would be detrimental.
MS: Negative publicity? What school of advertising did you flunk out of? There is no such thing as negative publicity. We’re so winning on this.
WM: Winning? How?
MS: Think about it. Until now everyone saw our “Roubaix” frame as kind of a joke. The only connection anyone ever had between “Roubaix” and “Specialized” was “I can’t afford a Tarmac.” But now in one fell swoop we’ve branded Roubaix indelibly with Specialized. In a few months no one will give a rat’s ass about that guy, who, by the way, we intend to doubly punish by opening a new concept store across the street.
WM: If it goes to trial, how are you going to prove that this has diluted your brand? Roubaix is a pretty ubiquitous word in the cycling world and has been around on products for a long time.
MS: Specialized is Roubaix.
MS: Specialized is Roubaix.
WM: Sorry, still don’t get your drift.
MS: We will keep repeating that Specialized is Roubaix over and over until we win. Then cyclists will think our products are the best because we won, and everyone likes a winner, especially one named “Roubaix.” I mean, what’s not to like about an awesome rock throwing contest in rural France?
WM: I’m pretty sure it’s not a rock throwing contest.
MS: Pavé-throwing, whatevs.
WM: It still seems heavy handed, you know, throttling the little guy just because you can.
MS: Heavy handed? More like “heavy jackboot on the neck.” You know why? Because, America. We love bullies and always have. Mike Tyson smashing some hacker’s brain out the back of his skull. Alabama winning forty consecutive titles. The president forcing an intern to blow him. You ever see an American monument to the little guy? Fuck no, and you never will. These laws are for the 400-lb. gorillas, not the nice scruffy dude selling bikes out of a van. I can say that, because I used to be a scruffy guy selling bikes out of a van. The big boys tormented me, abused me, laughed at me, and tried to crush me, but you know what? It made me better. So now that I’m the 400-lb. gorilla, you know what I’m gonna do?
WM: Crush Fuji and Trek?
MS: Fuck no, I need those guys to make the market appear competitive. What I’m gonna do is crush the little guys. The indies, the handmade frame builders, the dudes who haven’t bathed since last March and who believe in the “art of the bicycle.” ‘Cause those guys, the ones with guts and innovation and a vision and nothing to lose … those guys scare the shit out of me.