Bicycle shop owner drops the ‘Mike’ in wake of legal threat
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Mike Wanner holds a shirt with his Sequim shop’s new name, All Around Bikes. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– To avoid a trademark-infringement lawsuit for naming his bike shop after himself, Mike Wanner officially will rechristen his Sequim bicycle emporium, known for the past 12 years as Mike’s Bikes, as All Around Bikes this week.

In February, Wanner’s Mike’s Bikes got a letter from lawyers of Mike’s Bikes, a chain of 11 bike stores in Northern California that own the trademark for the name.

Wanner, 51, has spent the past eight months trying to come up with a name that would satisfy the Federal Trade Commission.

“It’s the federal government. Nothing moves too quickly,” Wanner said. “That sequester didn’t help any, either.”

The California Mike’s Bikes gave Wanner a year to change his name before it initiated court proceedings.

No other firm uses the “All Around” moniker, Wanner said.

He said he will trademark the store’s new name to avoid any potential future conflicts.

Wanner went through several names — “Blue Hole Bikes,” “Discovery Bikes” and “Trailside Bikes” but found all those were taken.

“The last thing I wanted was to go though this again.”

He held a naming contest on Facebook, asking friends of the Sequim Mike’s Bikes for suggestions.

It didn’t turn out to be the most fruitful effort.

“I do appreciate the efforts and the support we got,” Wanner said of the more than 300 suggestions his Facebook friends put forth.

“But more than half of those were Michael’s Bicycles.”

Which doesn’t fit in federal trademark law, he said.

Names too similar to the trademarked name also are off limits, so Wanner’s attorneys suggested staying away from the “Michael’s Bicycles” or “Myke’s Bykes” or any of the several other derivations offered up by the Facebook set.

The California chain petitioned Facebook officials to have Wanner’s shop’s website removed because its lawyers said the site was infringing on the California business’ trademark.

After two weeks of writing letters to Facebook and the California chain, saying he was waiting for the government to process his name change, Wanner’s “Mike’s Bikes” Facebook page was back up.

A page with the new store name will replace the Sequim Mike’s Bikes page.

One night, Wanner turned to his wife, Carrie, with the idea of giving the store an “A” name to put it on top of phone book listings and any other alphabetical search bike buyers may look under.

“We started kicking around ‘A’ names,” Wanner said.

“Then we got to ‘All Around.’ We sat there, looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’”

Between filing for trademark approval on the new name and ordering new T-shirts and work shirts for staff, water bottles, signs, business cards and a new round of marketing for the All Around Bikes shop, Wanner figures the name change prompted by the California chain will cost him $10,000.

“I should send them the bill,” he said.

“They’ll never pay it — probably never even look at it — but I should send it anyway, just to say, ‘Thanks a lot.’”

Wanner was one of 22 “Mike’s Bikes” in the country, several of which told the Peninsula Daily News in February that they also had been contacted by the California Mike’s Bikes attorneys to change their names.

Messages on Monday requesting comment from executives with the California Mike’s Bikes were not returned.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 09. 2013 6:02PM
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