AZ Urban Race, Formerly AZ Urbanathlon, Faces Possible Restraining Order in Trademark Case; Race Scheduled for November 5

urban race logo.JPG

AZ Urban Race, formerly AZ Urbanathlon, has yet to clear all the hurdles in a lawsuit filed by the publisher of Men's Health magazine.

As we reported on October 18, the obstacle-course race hosted by Mountainside Fitness was slapped with a lawsuit by Rodale, Inc., the magazine's publisher. Men's Health has run its own, trademarked Urbanathlon since 2006, and didn't take kindly to the Arizona event's unauthorized use of the name.

Tom Hatten, founder and president of Mountainside Fitness, told New Times he'd made an "honest mistake" in not realizing the name was trademarked. He trashed his event's T-shirt, Facebook site and domain name, saying the last-minute switch cost the event about $15,000.

He thought he'd smoothed things out with Rodale. But now it seems that the publishing company won't be satisfied unless it kills the event entirely.


urbanathlon logo.JPG
AZ Urbanathlon has changed its name to AZ Urban Race -- but the publisher of Men's Health magazine, which runs its own Urbanathlon, still isn't happy -- and wants the local race canceled.

On Tuesday, Rodale filed a motion in federal court seeking an emergency injunction to stop the Arizona race. (See below.) A judge has yet to rule on it.

Ronin Gardiner, the publisher of Men's Health, filed paperwork in support of the motion, saying that Men's Health promotes its own Urbanathlon event in the 30,000 copies of the magazine distributed each month in Arizona. Gardiner says any "negative experiences" at the Arizona race will be associated with the Men's Health event, causing a drop in sponsors.

The problem is, scratching the well-promoted Arizona event won't be all that positive, either -- it'll be a let-down for hundreds (maybe thousands) of eager competitors.

The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com are major sponsors of the AZ Urban Race.

We'll keep you posted on what happens.

Here's the request for the restraining order:

Motion for TRO - Filed


and the original federal complaint:


az urbanathlon



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12 comments
Tanishatr Gyatsoi
Tanishatr Gyatsoi

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E30bimmer
E30bimmer

I already paid for my kids to race!!!! Where do o go now to get my money back??????????

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Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I happen to agree with your point. I hope the court does side with the promoter, which won't likely bode well for the magazine.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I believe once the adjective is used as part of a name it becomes a proper noun, yes? The conflict is in the naming, as Www points out. As a competitive mountain biker I participate in many mountain bike races, but they all have site specific names such as: Leadville Trail 100, Tour of the White Mountains, etc... this name simply indicates the race is city based, in my opinion. That said, however, it's also obviously being competitive with another event called an Urbanathlon..... the request for injunction is simply a legal maneuver to stop the competition. The outcome should be interesting. Especially for those who have already paid their registrations...

Www
Www

Spending 15,000 is not a lot of money.  The race organizers are still trying to cash in on the name "urban", something Men's Health has spent millions over the years building the brand name. 

These people could have easily changed the name to anything but "urban"  It's quite obvious these people took the idea created by Men's Health and by using the same name and then only slightly changing it.

That would be like someone starting a weekly called...News Times or PHx News Times or New Phoenix Weekly Times

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

I hope this gets ironed out.  Was looking forward to playing, even if its a short race.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

In a country of free enterprise we certainly can't allow competition, at a competitive event, now can we?

Captain Ron
Captain Ron

Do you think the promoter sells Men's Health magazines???? LOL  I also hope the the promoter presides. I can't think of a synonym that could have worked for urban.I myself just went through a trademark name fight with a Swiss company, but we wrote a coexist agreement. That alone cost me the 15k the promoter says he spent.....but it was very well worth it. I think that maybe since this could possibly be a "warm up" type of race for the Men's Health race, they would be happy that it could very well be good for them in the future. If people like doing this type of racing, they would want to go to the larger ones. IE Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, etc. People from all over the USA and world for that matter go to these! Bottom line, I strongly believe that Men's Health should be happy that there are more of these to act as a "warm up" or "practice" run.

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