Housing authority approves settlement with Trek Bicycles over online platform name
Bike company opposed Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority’s trademark application for HomeTrek system
The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority board on Wednesday settled a trademark case with Trek Bicycle Corp., which had opposed the local agency’s attempt to register its customer-based software system called HomeTrek.
The corporation opposed APCHA’s trademark registration in May, arguing that HomeTrek intrudes on the Trek company’s intellectual property rights, according to Trek’s notice of opposition filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The settlement agreement is not monetary and is narrow in scope on the use of the word “trek,” said APCHA Deputy Director Cindy Christensen.
“Trek Bicycles felt that people might get confused between HomeTrek for us and Trek Bicycles for them,” she told the board.
Assistant City Manager Diane Foster said it’s common to do a settlement agreement on a particular category or use.
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“This one basically says we’re not going to expand our use of the name, so we can’t use ‘Home Trekking’ or things like that,” she said. “And for anyone who hasn’t seen the letter to the editor that with, ‘I was going to buy a mountain bike and by mistake I bought an affordable housing unit’ you have to go see that.”
The company stated in its opposition that it has invested substantial amounts of time, effort and money in protecting and policing its TREK trade name.
Trek also said that it’s not exclusively in the business of bikes anymore and has more than 40 trademarks with the “Trek” name. That includes “Pro Trek,” “Trek Care,” Trekker,“ ”Trekmates,“ and ”Trek Winery,“ for instance. HomeTrek intrudes on the Trek company’s intellectual property rights, the notice said.
HomeTrek launched in January and replaced an all-paper system that managed over 3,000 deed-restricted units with an online platform where people now do nearly all of their APCHA business online.
That includes entering an employee-housing lottery, checking on a property tax bill, filing a complaint or a new ownership qualification, among many other purposes.
According to the settlement, Trek Bicycle Corp. will not challenge APCHA or interfere with its TREK name and any of its marks which include TREK as an element.
Trek will withdraw its opposition within 10 days and allow HomeTrek to be used for “computer software platforms … for mobile applications for use in managing real estate and property management and related accounting functions … for use in managing real estate … for database management … for document management … for use in customer relationship management … none of the foregoing goods are intended for use with cycling computers or in the cycling industry.”
APCHA also cannot allow HomeTrek to use its name in connection with bicycles or goods or services related to cycling, as well as not use the HomeTrek and design mark so that the TREK portion is emphasized or is more prominent than the other portions of the mark due to the font style, size or color; not adopt, use or register any other mark containing “TREK, TREKS, TREKER, TREKKER or TREKKING as a word mark alone, with or without a design element; not adopt any other design for the HomeTrek and design mark that uses a font that is confusingly similar to the fonts used by Trek for the TREK mark; and not adopt any domain name including TREK as an element other than one containing HomeTrek,” according to the settlement.
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