By Jeff Todd
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– A small apparel company in Northern Colorado says it’s being bullied out of the trademark name it has had since 2011.
“We have hats, we have fleece, we have puffer jackets, we have soft shells, we have hand-knitted sweaters,” said Sabina Shakya who runs Khumbu Adventure Gear with her husband.
The company was founded after Nepalese hikers realized their gear was holding up well on Everest. The idea for Khumbu Adventure gear started around 2010. They picked the name after the region of Nepal that is home to Everest.
“It’s all from Nepal, made in Nepal hand tailored, and hand knitted,” Shakya said. “We love the idea of putting the Nepalese product into U.S. market.”
Shakya and her husband have been in the United States for 20 years and rely on friends and family to work the supply chain on the ground in Nepal.
“I believe in our product, I’m proud of my product and I’m proud of the people who make them”
Many of the gloves, sweaters and hats are hand knit from women in Nepal.
“This empowers women in Nepal,” Shakya said holding a hat. “This product I just love and I’m proud of it.”
Khumbu Adventure gear had a store on College Avenue in Fort Collins, but has been online only this year to cut down on costs.
“It is not easy to get recognition and get that name out there, but we haven’t given up.”
In August of 2017, Khumbu Adventure Gear was sent a cease and desist letter from the footwear company Khombu.
Shakya doesn’t understand how her company that had a trademark since 2011, could now be the subject of a cancellation with the U.S. Patent Office.
“We do not produce and sell footwear,” she said.
Online records show Khombu having a footwear trademark dating back to 1990, but the same company applied for many more trademarks in August 2017 for apparel, backpacks, and watches among other products.
Khombu didn’t respond to a CBS4 request for comment.
Shakya says she’s being pushed to close her company because she doesn’t have the money to fight the lawsuit against Khombu.
“It’s going to cost us our savings, a lot more. And put us out of business,” she said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.