In one of those moves that makes you ask, “Can they do that?” I just learned this weekend that Bass Pro Shops is going after anyone (company) with a logo that is perceived to infringe on BPS’ copyrighted jumping bass and yellow oval.

Although I have yet to obtain a copy of the text of the letter from the Bass Pro legal department, my sources tell me that things as innocent as a “swimming bass” and possibly even the word “Bass” (depending on the format) could be contested.

The letter apparently includes samples of what Bass Pro Shops believes are infringements. One of those, I’m told, is from a bass fishing organization which has both a bass and an oval, but others, the source noted, were nowhere nearly as obvious.

Typically, in the fishing world, we hear of such legal campaigns addressing patent issues regarding components or technology. A few that come to mind include Larew’s once patented salt content in soft baits, Stanley’s swimbait tail design, or more recently, Humminbird’s beef with Lowrance over side-scanning imagery.

But targeting the image of a “swimming bass” in a bass fishing product label seems a little much. Yet the implications could be disastrous for a small company that must defend itself in court and bear the consequences, or actually cease the use of said materials.

But hey, doesn’t the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society logo also feature a bass? But wait, so does this website!

If I get more on this, I’ll pass it on.


13 Responses to “Bass Pro Shops cries ‘infringement’”

Just think they could have spent that legal money on more Nascar and ESPN commercials. What a waste of time and money.

B.P.S. Childish. Immature. They are looking like an adolescent bully. The risk is disillusioning loyal customers.

Remember back 20 years or so that BASS went after the local clubs that were not affiliated with them and were calling themselves “xyz Bassmasters”.

What a joke… I think I’ve made my last BPS purchase. The damage this does in the public eye is going to far out weigh and benefit they receive by having the only logo in the fishing industry depicting a bass. Their logo looks like crap anyways.

“far out weigh any* benefit”

How many BPS brand products on their shelves that are copies of a small company bait? Kind of laughable.

Robert F is right on. Think Luckycraft would love a cut of all the product of theirs BPS has splashed?

@ Brian, Yeah, I remember that. I think I recall that B.A.S.S. realized it was a mistake and backed off. Perhaps BPS will be smart enough to stick their finger in the air and realize they are creating an “ill” wind.
@ Rick, I think some of the BPS baits are Lucky Craft. Most private label products are produced by a major manufacturer. Although with some major brands It’s the other way around,i.e. The private label company produces for the major.

Rick Lingor writes:
“I think some of the BPS baits are Lucky Craft. Most private label products are produced by a major manufacturer. ”

The BPS knockoffs were produced by River2Sea at one point. I’ve seen factory samples of the lures they OEM and BPS was one of their clients among others (Shimano and Daiwa lures, for example).

@ Fish-Food,
Cool and fun info. Thanks

Welcome to the world of branding. BPS are an extremely sophisticated and successful retailer and manufacturer with extensive product lines and they’re serving notice – especially in a down economy. They’re known for contracting out production until they catch on and then they become a major competitor – they’ve been doing that a long time. In any event, depending on how agressive they are, smaller companies are simply going to have to suck it up. Has anyone been bitching about the consolidation in the bass boat market? Let me guess – economies of scale translating into lower prices to consumers? Not likely – reducing competition generally results in higher prices/margins.

Amazing…………………… simply amazing

Prime reason I haven’t shopped at Bass Pro in over 2 years. I will not spend my hard earned money on a mega store any more. All my shopping is done at small mom and pop shops.