Reporter Jason Blevins on (Ep.109)


  • How did Jason uncover this story? (2:30)
  •’s response (6:40)
  • Is this “normal” trademark law practice? (15:40)
  • Stories from two of the targeted companies (20:25)
  • What should we expect going forward? (33:44)
  • Why Jason left the Denver Post (40:48)
  • Starting the Colorado Sun (44:09)

Jason Blevins of the Colorado Sun broke the story about’s practices around trademark issues, so we talk to Jason about how this story got on his radar; the specifics of what was doing; how common or uncommon these practices are; how has subsequently responded; and what needs to be done going forward.

16 comments on “Reporter Jason Blevins on (Ep.109)”

  1. I have been a user for many years of your service but your holier than thou attitude on this is getting a bit old. You are a for profit entity and am sure you would do what you need to do to protect your brand as well. Can you just quit choosing causes as you don’t always need to be politically correct on issues. Whether in a podcast or on this issue, you seem to take positions on materials, environment and now this. I just want to know what products are good and bad and how they perform. I don’t need the my ski gear choices to be dominated but your politics or opinions on practices you don’t agree on. We get enough of that watching tv these days. Am canceling my subscription.

    • That’s certainly your prerogative to cancel your subscription, Todd.

      But if your claim is that we would have operated in the same way that has, I assure you, you are wrong.

      More importantly, isn’t even continuing to act in their previous manner, so evidently they also recognize that there are better and worse ways of protecting a brand.

      And as Jason and I both said in this conversation, we’re heartened and hopeful that this new course represents a real shift for them. And we both think that that would be a very positive thing.

  2. That’s nice. But…this won’t change the fact that we need companies with buying power to allow more consumers to enjoy the outdoors at reasonable prices and whether it’s Backcountry or the next company that comes along, some small independent brands in a small market just won’t make it as the reality of the economics always win. We can’t take an altruistic view that it’s ours or your job to hold companies accountable for their practices as I can assure you most would fail as you peel back the layers. From outdoor products being made in parts of the world that employ labor practices that we would not agree with to the false premise that these same companies think they can clean up their carbon footprint if they buy some credits (at least the company can feel better), there is hypocrisy in all of this as you provide favorable reviews for some of them. I just don’t think it’s the job of Blister to call for a boycott of any company. You can voice your opinion strongly, but that goes too far. Sometimes karma backfires on you. I always loved what you guys did for all of us, but this crossed the line IMO.

  3. Thank you for the follow-up, Jonathan. I do not mind to hear your or any other reviewers opinion outside of flex patterns and radius :-)

    And kudos to you, I think you were one of the forces that made change its behaviour.

    I always enjoy when Jonathan pulls out the philosphy talk.
    The Rachael Burks podcast was very enjoyable. The early podcast always included music and film questions, which I enjoyed.

    • may have changed their ways but that doesn’t mean they were wrong in the first place. This is a case of perception becoming reality. They are responding to the public reaction regardless of if the public was right to get upset in the first place. Them changing their ways isn’t so much them admitting they were wrong as much them apologizing for angering keyboard warriors.

      Others like Patagonia or Outside (which is a bit hypocrtical for putting bc on blast) have done the same thing but received no criticism or backlash.

      The most recent season, and especially the season finale, of South Park did a great job capturing the issue. The outdoor community is acting just like the PC Babies did in South Park

  4. Blister and Jason Blevins, I love you, thank you so much for this. Such a great listen. Great to hear straight from the source, and that is taking the right steps. I’m considering buying from them again assuming they deliver what they promise.

  5. Additionally, wondering why Blevins received tons of praise for his article but almost no criticism on his lack of journalistic integerity. An article was written without even attempting to gain perspective by contacting trademark lawyers or other experts on the topic. He basically admitted to lacking due diligence on his Reddit AMA. Just a little disheartened that the outdoor community was up and arms after taking things at face value – I expected more.

    • Again, Evan, if you are going to impugn the journalistic integrity of Blevins, you should probably at least disclose the fact that you are a employee. seems to be taking some very positive steps recently, and I don’t think you’re helping their cause with this type of stuff.

      That said, you’ve also got the facts wrong. Jason cited two trademark law professors from Denver University, and also had a DU law class look at this, too — which he discusses in the podcast.

    • Why is it whenever someone doesn’t agree with something, people assume this? I work for an energy company in the Midwest and am an avid skier who has been a Blister member for several years. I have absolutely no skin in Don’t know anyone that works there or the owners. So I am not going to repeat my opinion on this. This is a healthy discussion and my opinion is you have to be very careful when you call for boycotts if you have a company of your own with customers that may have very different views. It’s dangerous to alienate parts of your customer base. That’s my advice to Blister for the next time they think of doing this.

      • I agree with you, Todd – it should not be assumed.

        But in this case, it appears that Jim did an extremely quick search and found that there is, actually, a employee commenting here (the employee just did not disclose this).

        That said, I also do agree with you that “this is a healthy discussion” — and that is why we are having it.

        Finally, I also agree that “you have to be very careful when you call for boycotts” — which is why we never have before, and which is why I ended my original written piece with a section called, “Going Forward,” and why we gave an update in this podcast on the positive steps that is taking.

        So there are reasons to boycott a company. And there are often things that a company can do to correct past actions and become a positive force in a given community. And in case this is still unclear to some people — even after they’ve read the ending of my written piece, and after they’ve listened to this podcast — I personally am hoping for the latter when it comes to (I also realize that not everyone is, and I understand why.)

        But where you and I might disagree is on the thinking that one should not (ever??) take a stand out of fear of what your customer base might think. While that is certainly a calculating position, it also strikes me as a cowardly one. We aren’t afraid of differing views, and we aren’t calling for everyone to act or believe the same thing. But we will do our best to articulate certain positions, call out blatant bad behavior, and we trust the Blister community is smart enough to weigh the merits of our arguments and think for themselves. Just as they’ve been doing for years with our reviews.

        (Come to think of it … perhaps we should never criticize a ski or ski boot, either. Because some of our readers might think that particular ski or ski boot is terrific, and we wouldn’t want to alienate them….)

  6. Comparing a boycott of a company and a critical review of a ski boot?? Cmon you know that’s not fair to say. Those extremes are not close. That’s for your fans and not genuine. I will take that as tongue and cheek.

    I will consider my voice heard and give you credit for posting the opinions of your customers. Good luck.

  7. Thank you Jonathan and Blister for having the guts to take a stand!

    I read and trust Blister for this reason.

    I appreciate courage whether you are reviewing gear or questioning corporate conduct that arguably crosses an ethical line.

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