Reimagining "Share The Road" - Without Bike Florida, Inc.
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Exhibit "C"
One Bad Strategy, One Terrible (in my opinion)

A Non-Distinctive Trade Name (such as Bike Florida) is Generally a Bad Strategy

  • Bike Florida says nothing about “non-profit” (possible consumer confusion, not ideal when selling a service).
  • Bike Florida is ambiguous, with no self-regulating properties (opens door to mischief and abuse, more below).
  • Bike Florida materially exaggerates the geographic scope of BFI events over 25 years (see map).

In fairness, generic or non-distinctive trade names are not uncommon. But this doesn't change the fact that distinctive trade names are inherently more transparent and self-regulating. Also, distinctive names are inherently strong and typically do not require a registered trademark, which saves the public money.

Florida map

Powerful Reasons Why BFI's Supplemental Trademark is a Terrible Strategy

  1. The publically funded trademark serves no legitimate public purpose.

  2. "Supplemental" trademarks are subject to abuse. For example, BFI attempted what some refer to as "trademark bullying," by implying that BFI had an enforceable "need," which it clearly does not (see links below). Here is BFI quoted from emails to this "fellow" safe biking advocate (www.BikeFlorida.net ).

    “Please be aware that our organization has trademarked the name Bike Florida (see attached) and I am hoping we can resolve this without the need for legal action."  (Executive Director, Bike Florida, Inc.).

    Then from BFI... "Thank you for getting back to me. I'd like to send you some more information regarding the trademark. Can I please have your mailing address?"  (Executive Director, Bike Florida, Inc.).

    Note: sometimes, the mere mention of "legal action" does the job. And few people realize that a "supplemental" trademark (primarily intended for international trade) is virtually impossible to defend as implied (see "When a Trademark is Not a Trademark" and other links below). Nevertheless, it does give BFI "standing," or the ability to sue (regardless of merit) in Federal Court, presumably using its government funding!

    Then from BFI 6 weeks later (after many requests for some sort of clarification)... "#1, Bike Florida has made no threat against you or any member of the public regarding our Trademark Registry.  #2, It is acknowledged that Bike Florida staff did make email contact with you advising of our Trademark Registry and requesting dialogue; followed by a subsequent email requesting your mailing address, should future follow-up be needed (neither of which constitutes a threat)."  (BFI Board President).

    What kind of non-profit would do this? I discovered Bike Florida, Inc. - self-proclaimed as "Florida's Premier Bicycle Touring Company" - existing on government grants (see Exhibit A) and publicly stating "our primary mission is to promote safe bicycling in the state of Florida" (see Exhibit B).

  3. Imagine if ... all Specialty License Plate program non-profits followed the same vexatious trademark practices as BFI, for no public purpose! Then consider that perhaps one is too many.

Who To Contact... see numerous ways to make yourself heard near bottom of home page.

Questions and comments are invited: mail@MyBikeSafetyMission.com

Also see... Exhibit "A" and Exhibit "B"

*"Supplemental Registration provides no evidence of trademark rights in the registered term in a court proceeding" (Wikipedia link below).


Resources… Supplemental Trademarks:
https://dnattorney.com/when-a-trademark-is-not-a-trademark/
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-good-the-supplemental-register.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supplemental_Register "Supplemental Registration provides no evidence of trademark rights..."
Trademark Bullying

Disclaimers: Opinions expressed herein are my own. Nothing is presented with malice towards any person. Nothing herein is intended to be false or misleading. All efforts have been made to ensure completeness and accuracy. Financial information has been limited to the latest public IRS Forms 990s, and other public sources.