It always pains us to see local companies doing crappy things.
In this case, Backcountry.com, a Utah-based company and a significant employer in Park City, appears to be a crappy corporate citizen. According to The Colorado Sun, “Backcountry.com a year ago filed for trademarks protecting the word backcountry for all sorts of outdoor gear as the online retailer launched its first-ever branded jackets, skis and apparel. Now the e-commerce behemoth is suing small business owners.” The story recounts several cases where Back Country appears to be a bully.
Effectively, it appears the company sued all sorts of companies who use the term backcountry for a product name. Sell some skis that have have backcountry in the title, you may be sued. Sell some clothing with the word backcountry in the description and the hammer may come down. We aren’t sure that if your company did some sort of backcountry ski touring, that it would be safe either.
This verges on the same level as Vail trademarking Park City. In one case, you have a company trademarking a place we live. In this case, we have a company trademarking a thing that many of us do. So far, it appears Back Country has not commented on the story. Being as they are now owned by a VC firm out of Michigan, I’m not sure we will hear much. But it does appear that Back Country doesn’t have the same values that many of us in Park City have.
That said, if you work for BackCountry.com in Redstone, your nugget has definitely lost some shine. However, if you work there, you may have the only influence over righting the course of the ship.