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Old 02-13-2012, 02:53 PM   #41
Brian Wilson
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Please no on the top down communication. Between the Message Board/Facebook/Twitter/etc, I feel like I get a TON of information on what HQ is up to. I'll take those formats any day over a mass email.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:23 PM   #42
Steve Loeding
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Brian - you don't get the right info - none of us does until someone finally comes along and says "Here are the facts" as this thread has done.

Instead we hear rumors of this and that, most of which are not true but spread like wildfire on the internet.

Think of the Reebok CrossFit deal in regards to Reebok CrossFit gyms - at first there was fear that Reebok was taking over CrossFit Gyms, then that Reebok was going to start their own huge Reebok CrossFit gyms all over, and now we know that's not true ( I think )

A big entity like CrossFit should do everything it can to communicate any and all pertinant info to the affiliates who are paying $ to be affiliated (again, I'm more than happy to pay it). But paying it also means I sorta expect 2 way communication. I do want to be kept informed of things from HQ.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:31 PM   #43
Steve Loeding
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

BTW - I will say that whenever I have a question and I send out an email or phone call to HQ, they are very prompt and professional in their response. Quite literally within an hour sometimes - which is awesome, considering all that is going on. So they are very good at replying - just need a little work on squashing rumors and sending out info that affects us affiliates esp when the rumors start spreading.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:05 PM   #44
Russell Greene
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Phil,

You asked "How is this good news for the CrossFit community?"

How important is it for your affiliate to be able to freely use the CrossFit program? Isn't that why you own an affiliate?

Defending CrossFit IP is essential to the continued success of CrossFit affiliates. Scott Zagarino is a perfect example. Do you think CrossFit affiliates should be sued for doing a CrossFit workout for charity? Sportsgrants does.

As Dale has already covered, Sportsgrants applied for and received a trademark for using Fight Gone Bad without informing CrossFit. Next, Sportsgrants began sending cease-and-desist notices to CrossFit affiliates using Fight Gone Bad for charity. Sportsgrants even threatened a Canadian affiliate, despite the fact that their trademark doesn't apply in Canada.

Sportsgrants is not ashamed of this behavior. In fact, they admit it in detail on pages 9 and 10 here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/80993258/FGB-Complaint. (Link is work/family safe.)

Lisbeth Darsh has best illustrated the difference between CrossFit and Sportsgrants: "If CrossFit holds the FGB trademark, we'll let you do whatever local fundraiser you want whenever you want and call it FGB. If Sportsgrants holds the trademark, they will come after you with a cease-and-desist."

In 2008, you questioned the necessity of protecting the CrossFit trademark against Darryl Fraught. As you recall, Fraught applied to trademark the term CrossFit in South Africa. Four years later, legitimate CrossFit affiliates in South Africa still live in fear of this fraud. Similar IP threats against CrossFit happen every day, throughout the world. It would shock you to know the full extent.

I'd love for everyone to understand how crucial it is to protect CrossFit's IP. But CrossFit is not going to wait for anyone's permission to defend the CrossFit brand. Every inch we yield in this fight threatens the future success of CrossFit affiliates worldwide.

CrossFit is too committed to making people better to make such compromises.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:44 PM   #45
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
Phil,

You asked "How is this good news for the CrossFit community?"

How important is it for your affiliate to be able to freely use the CrossFit program? Isn't that why you own an affiliate?

Defending CrossFit IP is essential to the continued success of CrossFit affiliates. Scott Zagarino is a perfect example. Do you think CrossFit affiliates should be sued for doing a CrossFit workout for charity? Sportsgrants does.

CrossFit is too committed to making people better to make such compromises.
If I pay my affiliation fees, I feel entitled to market the CrossFit program. It never occurred to me to use FGB as a charity tool because we participate in the Sportsgrants event every year. In my opinion, an affiliate that would try to host a FGB charity event lacks creativity and the ability to create a cool event on their own. Just my opinion. I'm not defending anyone who resorts to threats, but HQ has done a fair bit of that on their own and driven out great people in the process. Not passing judgement, just calling it as I see it.

I'm also a bit skeptical that HQ is overly concerned about the success of my affiliate. HQ is concerned about creating affiliates, period. Again, not passing judgement, just calling it as I see it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:19 AM   #46
Kevin Mueller
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Mancini Jr. View Post
If I pay my affiliation fees, I feel entitled to market the CrossFit program.
Philip, you acknowledge that CF owns the rights to the name CrossFit, and that you are required to pay CF a fee for the right to use that name in your marketing. I assume that you are running your affiliate for profit, so you are hoping to use the CF name to increase your own business.

How is that different from CF (or any other business) being entitled to protect its other IP, such as the name "Fight Gone Bad," from use by a third party? That third party is hoping to increase its own business by using the reputation/brand/etc. created at the expense of someone else.

Last edited by Kevin Mueller : 02-14-2012 at 09:23 AM. Reason: edited for clarity
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:40 AM   #47
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

I never said CrossFit didn't have a right to protect its IP.

I just doubt HQ's motivations are solely to protect affiliates. Previous posts alluded that a victory for HQ was a victory for affiliates. My position is that I pay my affiliation fees, so I'm allowed to use CrossFit and promote CrossFit in my programming. Although it's one piece of the puzzle, it's potentially an important one.

I do, however, question an affiliate who attempts to run a FGB event for charity. Sportsgrants has been doing it for years and has built up it up to a worldwide event. Now I'm hearing that HQ had A LOT to do with it, even though I've never seen or heard anything about it. I'm not suggesting that the involvement wasn't legit, just that it's news to me. I know of several other affiliates who would agree with that.

Now the position of HQ is that this fight is about protecting the IP and the affiliates from cease and desist orders? I personally find it a little underhanded for an affiliate to profit off the FGB event when Sportsgrants has put in a lot of leg work. If, via the court process, information comes to light that HQ was behind the growth of the FGB event, I'll change my position. However, if that was the case all along, HQ should have communicated that.

These fights do little to promote CrossFit and/or help affiliates become more successful. Just my opinion.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #48
Russell Greene
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Phil,

I'd like to address some of your points.

"HQ is concerned about creating affiliates, period."

How long would CrossFit survive if it only cared about new affiliates popping up, and not about the success of existing ones? The health of this movement, and the company that supports it, is inextricably linked to the success of the affiliates.

"Now the position of HQ is that this fight is about protecting the IP and the affiliates from cease and desist orders? I personally find it a little underhanded for an affiliate to profit off the FGB event when Sportsgrants has put in a lot of leg work."

How does Sportsgrants "leg work" benefit an individual affiliate hoping to raise money through FGB in a separate event? The workout and the affiliate structure that performed it all came from HQ.

"If, via the court process, information comes to light that HQ was behind the growth of the FGB event, I'll change my position"

Excluding the extensive work done by CrossFit staff, which you admit to be unaware of, and the obvious promotion of the event at the Games, on CrossFit internet properties, etc., CrossFit was essential to the success of Sportsgrants. No CrossFit, no Fight Gone Bad charity, no Sportsgrants.

Athletes for a Cure, Scott Zagarino's pre-Sportsgrants organization, even called it the CrossFit Fight Gone Bad in the first couple of years. They did not have CrossFit's permission to do so, but they knew that the CrossFit brand was the sine qua non of their success.

"These fights do little to promote CrossFit and/or help affiliates become more successful. Just my opinion."

On what events do you base your opinion? The last 5 years contradict it. To revisit the South Africa issue, you wondered at the time why CrossFit bothered itself with such trivialities as Darryl Faught registering CrossFit in South Africa. Four years later, Faught still owns the trademark. It's both confusing to South African consumers who are tricked by a fake CrossFit, and threatening to South African affiliates that go to market with the CrossFit name without owning the trademark. Does it make sense to you that South African CrossFit affiliates need CrossFit's IP to be secure in order to thrive?

If so, why wouldn't the same apply to U.S. affiliates?

The growth and success of each country's CrossFit affiliates directly depends upon CrossFit's control of its own IP in that country.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:34 AM   #49
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Greene View Post
Phil,

I'd like to address some of your points.

"HQ is concerned about creating affiliates, period."

How long would CrossFit survive if it only cared about new affiliates popping up, and not about the success of existing ones? The health of this movement, and the company that supports it, is inextricably linked to the success of the affiliates.

"Now the position of HQ is that this fight is about protecting the IP and the affiliates from cease and desist orders? I personally find it a little underhanded for an affiliate to profit off the FGB event when Sportsgrants has put in a lot of leg work."

How does Sportsgrants "leg work" benefit an individual affiliate hoping to raise money through FGB in a separate event? The workout and the affiliate structure that performed it all came from HQ.

"If, via the court process, information comes to light that HQ was behind the growth of the FGB event, I'll change my position"

Excluding the extensive work done by CrossFit staff, which you admit to be unaware of, and the obvious promotion of the event at the Games, on CrossFit internet properties, etc., CrossFit was essential to the success of Sportsgrants. No CrossFit, no Fight Gone Bad charity, no Sportsgrants.

Athletes for a Cure, Scott Zagarino's pre-Sportsgrants organization, even called it the CrossFit Fight Gone Bad in the first couple of years. They did not have CrossFit's permission to do so, but they knew that the CrossFit brand was the sine qua non of their success.

"These fights do little to promote CrossFit and/or help affiliates become more successful. Just my opinion."

On what events do you base your opinion? The last 5 years contradict it. To revisit the South Africa issue, you wondered at the time why CrossFit bothered itself with such trivialities as Darryl Faught registering CrossFit in South Africa. Four years later, Faught still owns the trademark. It's both confusing to South African consumers who are tricked by a fake CrossFit, and threatening to South African affiliates that go to market with the CrossFit name without owning the trademark. Does it make sense to you that South African CrossFit affiliates need CrossFit's IP to be secure in order to thrive?

If so, why wouldn't the same apply to U.S. affiliates?

The growth and success of each country's CrossFit affiliates directly depends upon CrossFit's control of its own IP in that country.
Russ,

I appreciate the response, but I'm not finding a lot of facts to support your statements.

What has HQ done, specifically, to support affiliates? When we opened our box, we were one of about 2-3 in the area. Now there's at least 15-20. Just stating facts. Now if this is designed to force us into better business practices to remain competitive, ok. But I doubt HQ cares. "Good training chases out bad training" Greg Glassman. But the proliferation of affiliates, with little quality control, doesn't help affiliates, it hurts them. I can provide specific examples if need be.

If Sportsgrants has less to do with the FGB event than most people realize, then why are so many affiliates confused on this issue? Why is there another FGB event in June that supports St. Judes? Seems specifically designed to undermine the September event to anyone with an outside perspective. A June event makes no sense since so much energy will be dedicated toward the regionals and the CrossFit Games. I was even joking with a friend (before even getting involved in this discussion) that the June event will probably be benefitting kids with cancer. And lo and behold, St. Judes. That's not manipulative at all; who's going to turn their back on a sick child? If HQ is firmly in the right, why try to manipulate the affiliates into picking sides?

To say Sportsgrants wouldn't "exist" without CrossFit has no basis in fact.

If Scott didn't have the permission to use the CrossFit Fight Gone Bad name, then why didn't HQ do something about it then? If he stole back in 2005 or 2006, sue him. Why wait until now?

And getting back to the South Africa issue. If you recall, Faught clearly had a disclaimer on his site stating that he was not associated with CrossFit. Anyone going to his site would see this and there would be little, if any, confusion. And let's be honest, HQ is upset because Faught didn't pay for the use, not the fact that South African consumers may not be getting the same product. I laugh at the idea that that is the underlying issue.

Relating it back to my own affiliate, I pay for the use of the CrossFit name, but my affiliate has very little, if any, resemblance to the majority of affiliates in my area. This lack of consistency is what confuses people and makes it more difficult for affiliates to thrive. If HQ is concerned, let's see some solutions.

The growth of CrossFit in other countries does not solely rely on the protection of the IP, it relies on the quality of the training and the professionalism of the participating affiliates.

Great information and design (CrossFit), poorly implemented (lousy affiliates, but hey, they paid for it), makes for a poor product (lousy affiliate and negative view on CrossFit).

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:21 PM   #50
Lisbeth Darsh
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Mancini Jr. View Post
But I doubt HQ cares.
Philip, if that's how you feel I doubt there is much I can do to convince you otherwise. But I am HQ -- me and a bunch of hard-working, caring folks who do a lot of work you don't see. I'm okay with that. And I'm willing to bet there are quite a few affiliates who do see how much I care.

I wish you the best in your affiliate, Philip. I'm going to get back to working hard for the affiliates now, whether you believe that or not.
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