We were recently contacted by Bike Delaware with the following allegation. Here is an excerpt from their attorney's letter:
It has come to Bike Delaware's attention that you have recently begun using the name "Delaware Bikes" to promote your views regarding cycling in Delaware, including without limitation, on the website www.delawarebikes.org. Our client is concerned by the use of "Delaware Bikes" because this phrase includes both terms of its "Bike Delaware" mark, simply inverted. Generally, merely inverting the words in a mark does not distinguish the marks, especially in view of the similar meanings and connotations of the respective marks. The significant similarities between the marks - particularly where the services are identical/overlapping and are directed to the same consumers and through the same trade channels - is likely to confuse consumers. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists has expressed its confusion between the names and Bike Delaware is concerned other people or groups encountering the Delaware Bikes name will associate your activities with Bike Delaware or are likely to believe, in error, that you are affiliated with, or sponsored by, Bike Delaware.
|? Is it Bike Delaware or Delaware Bikes ?|
The League of American Bicyclists did not express their confusion, to we at Delaware Bikes or anyone else, as you may have been told. Andy Clark, the President of the LAB merely gave his very narrow opinion on the existence of Delaware Bikes and our mission when asked by us for his support. In an e-mail to representatives of Delaware Bikes, he stated that "there is no need for a new "voice" that's honestly barely discernible in name and content from the existing voice". That is his personal opinion, and in no way should be construed to reflect what the LAB as an organization thinks. As a matter of fact, Delaware Bikes has made our purpose very clear, at every opportunity - to provide a more balanced approach to Bicycle Advocacy, and to include the concerns of those who cycle on Delaware's roads. This differs from Bike Delaware, whose main focus is on securing funds for future segregated bicycle facilities, such as trails and pathways. This is not merely an allegation; one only has to look at the two websites to draw their own conclusions as to the differences in our missions. On our Blog and Facebook page, which is the way we primarily communicate with our followers, we clearly and at every turn distinguish ourselves from Bike Delaware. And as far as consumers and trade channels, that is irrelevant. We are not targeting consumers nor are we soliciting money or donations. We are a non-profit Advisory Committee and Blog, we do not even solicit memberships. We pay for promotional items out of our own funds.
Poster's note: So, what's in a name? It should be noted that Bike Delaware didn't even formally register their domain name until February of this year. So, does Bike Delaware have a case? Stay tuned! For starters, Andy Clark (President, LAB) is incorrect that our services "are identical or overlap". Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bike Delaware focuses almost entirely on trails and pathway funding, while Delaware Bikes covers LAB's own 5 Es of bicycle advocacy. On-road safety is paramount - it is all but impossible to bike for transportation in Delaware (or just about anywhere in the US) without using roads and arterial highways at some point in your journey. And that's not set to change for generations to come, if ever.