Specialized Bicycles sued a small Canadian merchant for using the name of a small French town in his company name. Specialized thought it owned the trademark, but in fact only leased the trademark from the worldwide owner. It did not even own what it was trying to protect.
The story went viral. The Specialized Facebook page had 1000's of negative comments. 5 days of nothing from Specialized, then a weak apology from the CEO.
There are a lot of passionate groups of people in the world. Painters, skydivers, surfers, ruby on rails developers, skateboarders, start up freaks, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists, Pinterest addicts, personal coaches – I could go on.
Near the top of the list is bicycle riders. They are organized, fit, and passionate. Passionate about their bikes, their space, and others in their group. The NY Times did a study and learned that even the worlds fastest quick draw gun slinger could not move their arm as fast as a casual cyclist could when flipping off a car that just cut he or she off. That's survival passion.
So if you're one of the biggest brands, pissing off the entire group of people who make up your market is a bad idea. Waiting 5 days and giving an apology for suing someone for using a name YOU DON'T OWN BUT STILL SUED FOR, is just stupid.
If you piss off your entire customer base, 5 days is too long to respond.
If you were our client, it wouldn't take us 5 days to give you good advice in a case like this. 😉
More if you're inclined. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sinyard-takes-responsibility-and-apologises-to-cafe-roubaix-owner
Update: The seriously painful video of the apology. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=429367720519294&set=vb.219609484828453&type=2&theater