Just as the Backcountry backlash has faded from the news cycle, another big company has filed a trademark for a word frequently used in the outdoorist lexicon: basecamp.
Volkswagen unveiled its Atlas Basecamp concept—a rugged touring machine for all types of adventure—at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, demonstrating how it can be a “mountain biker’s dream” car.
Now the German car brand is moving forward with its plans. It filed a trademark on Nov. 26, 2019 for “basecamp.” The trademark raises similar questions as the Backcountry debate: How is it possible to trademark such a common word?
A few businesses currently using “basecamp” in their name and products include:
- Basecamp Outdoor Gear in Las Vegas
- The Basecamp in Montana
- Basecamp Hotels
- BaseCamp sleeping bag, by Sea To Summit
- BACKPACKER Basecamp
But the reason this filing will likely avoid backlash is because Volkswagen specified that the mark is for “automobile packages of premium features including structural and non-structural parts.” Not all kinds of outdoor gear. Not outdoor retail.
In contrast, Backcountry secured dozens of trademarks for goods and services, from snow skis and bindings, to truck accessories and bike racks, to climbing crash pads and chalk bags. Then, it filed cancellations and lawsuits against smaller businesses—Marquette Backcountry Skis, Backcountry Babes, Backcountry Nitro, and others—also using the word.
We reached out to Volkswagen to find out if they’re aware of the recent Backcountry kerfuffle, but we have not heard back.