• Bodie English

Specialized Bikes Sued For Trademark Infringement Of The Term "Hot Pocket"

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Specialized Bicycle Company is known for many things: Making quality high end Bicycle products, Innovating with utilitarian ideas, and suing other brands for Trademark infringement for seemingly ridiculous reasons. So it is with some irony that the major bike brand is being sued for using the term “Hot Pocket”as one of the features on one of its new model of bikes aimed at the highly coveted scoot bike market.

Specialized just released the new all carbon 999$ bike called the HotWalk™ with carbon frame, carbon fork, baby sized heart rate monitor strap, and 10mm dropper post that allows toddlers to toddle on down the sidewalk and leave children with tricycles crying with envy. It’s not clear where the demand was originally coming from for a high end bike of this nature, but some people I spoke with at a local mountain bike trail head said that the answers lie at the local dentist office. When asked for clarification on what this and the subsequent chuckles implied, a Local rider known only as Cope® just told me to go away.

The controversy with this new bike came into play with Specialized’s (is that how you do possessive with this brand name?.....that sounds weird) new innovative frame storage compartment that comes on some of the upgraded versions of the new HotWalk™ model. The adult versions of some of Specialized…..’s bikes have what is called a SWAT™

Box just under where the water bottle is mounted on the frame. SWAT™ stands for “storage, water, air, and tools" but for a kid’s bike, those are of little value to the 3 year old shredder. Instead, Specialized included what they call a “Hot Pocket” which, according to an interview with the secretary that answered the phone at Specialized corporate headquarters was, “I dunno, maybe it’s for an apple juice or a PB@J?” I asked if maybe it was for storage of a warm….previously hot…..delicious meat and cheese filled microwavable pastry snack also called a “Hot Pocket®”? A brand subsidiary to Nestlé. She asked if I knew the party’s extension for whom I would like to speak to tell her now. I replied “Greg” because honestly I didn’t know but I figured somebody there was named Greg and could help me get to the bottom of this, so I left a voicemail with Greg from accounting and am awaiting a detailed response.

Specialized has, in the past, brought multiple other companies to court for Trademark infringement, most notably a local bike shop in Cochrane, Alberta named Cafe Roubaix…..that’s French for Rubix...I think, which shared the name with one of Specialized’s popular road bikes. The name Roubaix comes from the name of a French city with a long history of renown road bike races. The cycling community saw it as a step too far and this resulted in bad press for the popular bike company.

Now that Nestle has turned the tables on Specialized and is suing them for trademark infringement, it is up to Specialized to prove that the nifty frame storage feature does not represent a clear violation of trademark law which requires a distinction between the name of a product being distinctly different in function from the trademarked product of another company. Lawyers for Specialized are expected to make the argument that, “Sometimes a pocket is hot, and we all have pockets, sometimes they're hot. "Hot" is an adjective describing what kind of pocket you got. Like I can’t have a pocket that’s hot? ...It’s a hole, like a hole in the frame, it’s not what it is, it’s what it isn’t….like, it’s just a hole in the bike, what’s the big deal? (sic)” The Morning Rag ® was not able to get a comment from Specialized about the on-going litigation so the aforementioned unattributed quote was from a facebook friend that knows all about copyright law. He also said I should place a legal disclaimer here, so: “This article, The Morning Rag ® and its contents, all names mentioned and not mentioned are hereby indemnified from all legal action and recourse, or besmirching of character, quality, and value.” Thus be it so ®.

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