CrossFit is one of the latest fitness crazes sweeping the nation. Developed by coach Greg Glassman, the program takes a functional, communal approach to getting fit. CrossFit essentially pools together many different sports and identifies the underlying physical skills needed to perform those tasks.

The result? Groups of loyal fitness fanatics getting together for various exercise series, known as WODs or “workouts of the day.” These sessions boil down to painstaking repetitions of jumping rope, squatting, and power lifting (among many, many other exercises) to build strength, endurance, and speed.

So, if you have ever passed by a group of enthusiastic participants flipping 800-pound tires in a parking lot and wondered what was going on; they were most likely doing CrossFit. CrossFit participants are not simply hooked on the style of workouts offered by the company. Rather, they are brand-loyal to the CrossFit name and what it has come to represent.

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CrossFit is a federally registered Trademark. CrossFit prides itself on being a “global affiliate community” that adheres to strict fitness and nutrition regimes as well as firm, results-oriented attitude. CrossFit boasts more than 7,000 affiliates that license its name. However, CrossFit engages in rigorous quality control of its brand to ensure that participants “get what they pay for.” What consumers are paying for is a fitness plan devoted to constantly varied, functional movements performed at a high intensity in a communal setting.

CrossFit has recently run into legal issues in ensuring that its affiliates maintain loyal to the brand. This is especially difficult, as similar exercise programs have been increasing in popularity at a rapid rate. On February 14, 2014, CrossFit Inc. filed a complaint in federal court against a former affiliate for trademark misappropriation.

The case, CrossFit Inc. v. Del Cueto Davalos, 15-cv-00725, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, accuses a former affiliate of setting up Internet domain names and franchises in Mexico that infringe on CrossFit’s trademarks. This lawsuit is one in a string of many attempts by outsiders to encroach on CrossFit’s lucrative territory.

The company itself urges CrossFit participants to keep a watchful eye on potential poachers. Crossfit’s very own newsletter notes, “[t]he copycats are the main problem, and they’re simply stunning in both their ingenuity and stupidity.” This recently filed action is yet another reminder of the lengths gone to in order to protect CrossFit’s trademarked brand and lifestyle.

–Jacqueline Meyers

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