Backcountry.com says “we made a mistake” amid trademark lawsuit controversy
Backcountry.com finally spoke on Wednesday, almost a week after a social media firestorm ignited by news the online retailer has been suing small business owners who used the word “backcountry” in their business names.
“We have heard your feedback and concerns and understand we fumbled in how we pursued trademark claims recently,” Backcountry.com CEO Jonathan Nielsen wrote in an open letter posted on the retailer’s website, noting his company was dropping a federal lawsuit filed against the founder and sole operator of Marquette Backcountry Ski. “We made a mistake.”
More than 12,000 Facebook users have signed up as members of a Boycott BackcountryDOTcom page following Colorado Sun reports that the Park City, Utah-based online retailer had filed federal lawsuits against four small business owners who used the name “backcountry.” The retailer also filed dozens of petitions for cancellation of previously registered trademarks held by businesses across the country.
The social media backlash has led thousands of former Backcountry.com shoppers to call and email the e-commerce giant.
Nielsen’s “letter to our community” — posted on the company’s website late Wednesday, a little more than three weeks before the retail industry’s Black Friday bonanza — said attempts to protect the brand involved actions “that we now recognize were not consistent with our values and we truly apologize.” The company has declined The Sun’s requests for comments and interviews several times in the past week.
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