🚴‍♀️ Peloton signs up for a legal class

Peloton can use a lot of words to describe the exercises people do on its core product: biking, cycling, pedaling, etc. But there’s a word it must avoid: “spinning.”  

  • In the early 1990s, the company Mad Dogg Athletics had a wild idea: It started producing a line of sleek indoor bicycles and training courses. They trademarked the names phrases “spin” and “spinning” to describe their products. Later, in 2010, Mad Dogg introduced a spin bike with a screen for the world’s first virtual “spinning” experience.  

  • Indoor bike classes went mainstream: And so did their trademark phrases. But over the years Mad Dogg has won lawsuits challenging its claim to the words. 

Along comes Peloton 

Peloton blends cycling classes and tech like no company before. In the last year, it has been one of the great corporate success stories of the pandemic. In December, Mad Dogg sued Peloton, claiming its instructor-led bike classes infringed on their virtual class designs. 

  • Peloton responded by going for the gold and asking the US Patent and Trademarks Office to invalidate the “spinning” and “spin” trademarks. It argues the terms have become generic, like escalator.     

The Verdict

Mad Dogg will not back down but neither, likely, will Peloton. In its filing, the company wrote, “Enough is enough. It is time to put a stop to Mad Dogg’s tactic of profiting by threatening competitors, marketplaces and even journalists with enforcement of generic trademarks.”