Following a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by clothing giant Gap Inc., Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Gap Adventures, said he had decided not to fight the issue further and last week changed the company's name to G Adventures.
"We could have gone into 20 years of appeals if we wanted to, and we could have stayed Gap Adventures," Poon Tip said. "I just decided to stop fighting."
In a June 24 decision in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled in favor of Gap Inc. on trademark infringement, noting that "Gap Adventures has used similar marks in commerce such that there is likelihood of confusion."
Consequently, Gap Adventures was ordered to change its name in the U.S. by Sept. 1.
Four days after the ruling, Poon Tip called the decision "unfounded" in a letter to the industry and said he would appeal. On Sept. 28, he said the decision was still in the appeal process but that the company decided to change its name anyway to put an end to legal proceedings that have cost G Adventures more than $5 million.
Gap Inc. "spent four times that," Poon Tip said. "They didn't beat us; they outspent us."
Poon Tip said G Adventures spent a lot of money on traditional brand research to find a new name for the Toronto-based company but that "ultimately, we decided against all the names that we had tested."
Poon Tip said that he looked at examples like Overstock.com, which changed its name to O, as well as at the W hotel model.
"We didn't want to be another travel name," Poon Tip said.
Regardless of what happens with the appeal, Poon Tip said he's sticking with the decision to be G Adventures, a name that was to be implemented globally on Oct. 1.
The company's new website is GAdventures.com, and the agent login can be found at https://sherpa.gadventures.com/login. All email addresses will change over to @gadventures.com addresses. All company phone numbers remain the same.