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Specialized Responds to Easton-Bell Suit

Published October 19, 2011

MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—In a letter Specialized emailed Wednesday, company founder Mike Sinyard told Specialized dealers that as more brands turn to mass merchants and sporting goods stores, bike shops must decide whether it makes sense to carry certain brands.

“Easton-Bell Sports recently sued Specialized, saying our company had ‘crossed the line’ by asking retailers to support brands that support them,” he wrote in the letter. “We didn’t cross the line. We drew a line.

“Some cycling suppliers conduct the lion’s share of their business through mass-merchants and general sports stores. Easton-Bell Sports sells through Wal-Mart. Others, like Specialized, only partner with professional bicycle stores. The question you need to ask is whether a supplier’s business model will ultimately help or hinder your shop’s business,” the letter said.

For the full letter, click on link above.

Easton-Bell Sports filed a lawsuit against Specialized in September, claiming the Morgan Hill, California, company engaged in unfair and unlawful business practices when it attempted to force dealers to agree to not sell its Giro brand of cycling shoes.

In the complaint filed in the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, Easton-Bell said that a dealer agreement addendum “has unlawfully restrained and will continue to unlawfully restrain the sale of Giro shoes …”

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