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Old    Empire Wake (empire_wake)      Join Date: Nov 2009       03-31-2010, 4:32 PM Reply   
To the Wakeboard Community,

Please forward this on to anyone who would be interested in knowing the following:

With USA Waterski's continuing struggles, they have resulted in this letter to Empire Wake in hopes to gain some ground on our company. This is the way they choose to battle their competition, with a legal letter of deceit from an attorney.

When Empire Wake Events decided to become a major role in collegiate wakeboarding, the entire point was to give the college teams something else other then the disaster created by USA Waterski over the past 2 years. We made it overly clear we were not USA Waterski or affiliated with that organization. We made it a point to make everyone understand we were the exact opposite and the direct compition of USA Waterski.

Our events were sanctioned by WWA, all our articles stated what we were doing and who we were. And every phone call and email to schools, riders and sponsors made this clear.
Our website is under Empire Wake (not the "Collegiate Wake Series") and you have to get to it through EmpireWake.com.

On top of this all CBS College Sports tried to hire and/or merge myself and Empire Wake to run USA Waterski's event under the ALT games in San Diego this year. If CBS College Sports was aware of this, and spent a month working out the details for Empire Wake to host USA Waterski's events for them, how is this unclear? Also, how does it look on USA Waterski that they have to hire out the competition to run their failing event?

However, in a manipulative manner, the board of USA Waterski has tried to make it look like we have tricked sponsors, riders and clubs into believing we had something to do with their events. 80% of all college teams chose to ride the Collegiate Wake Series over ... well USA Waterski doesn't have a name for their events.

Some Facts:
The Collegiate Wake Series was actually a series run by Empire Wake where one person ran every single event in the same format with the same standards and rules.
USA Waterski had individual schools host their own events how they pleased.

Only teams who rode the Collegiate Wake Series were invited to the Collegiate Wake Series National Championships.
USA Waterski didn't have enough teams and had to invite some of ours.

The packet that went out to every team that paid to ride the Collegiate Wake Series made it clear we were not affiliated with USA Waterski.

Every rider was required to purchase World Wakeboard Association insurance. Not USA Waterski.

So, as requested by the attached letter from an Attorney on behalf of USA Waterski, it brings me great pleasure to publicly announce that Empire Wake and the Collegiate Wake Series is NOT affiliated with USA Waterski, the CBS ALT games, or USA Waterskis National Championships.

The Collegiate Wake Series National Championships are not the USA Waterski collegiate nationals.

Please write this down for future reference so this confusion we have created will no longer exist.

Thank you for your time.

--
Rob Mendieta
910.442.6773
www.empirewake.com

"Thanks for Wakeboarding!"
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       04-01-2010, 11:57 AM Reply   
Sad that Collegiate riding will be effected by this. Just an opinion/observation:

1) The actual letter never cites USAWaterski at all, not sure why you only use it and never USAWB, as USA Wakeboard is the only org cited in the letter. USAWB can act on it's own.

2) Can you provide any evidence that comes even close to the statement "80% of all college teams chose to ride the Collegiate Wake Series over ... well USA Waterski doesn't have a name for their events." Unless the actual teams that competed are quadruple what has been posted on your website, I'd guess 80% of the University Clubs/Teams did NOT participate in the Collegiate Wake Series, and likely not a USAWB event either. Also, the "Series" idea rewards those with the most funds, and doesn't necessarily represent the Collegiate Wakeboarding scene for what it really seems to be.

3) Understand the point of the tournaments being run consistently. However I feel students should run them, and they should be learning experiences applicable to not only putting on wakeboard events, hosting clubs and teams, but also lessons that can be applied later on in life professionally. Having direction, and one person's set way is not going to help evolve the club/team/individuals at a higher level.

Improper spelling in an issued statement (compition), incorrect citing of the proper suing organization, and making up outlandish statistics as facts is only going to hurt with those that are knowledgeable, and mislead those that do not, which is what the lawsuit is stating, misleading and causing confusion. Also, teams are not yours (in reference to: USA Waterski didn't have enough teams and had to invite some of ours.), they are teams, with students that organize themselves, and are looking for opportunities. There should be no reason to make it an us vs them, when it should really be all about the students and clubs. The students and clubs are going to be really effected by this, and I hope the war does not divide University Wakeboarding.

4) Can you schedule a stop in the Midwest for 2010? I would be willing to help.

Again, these statements are my observation and opinion, and in no way are meant to attack you or Empire Wake as a whole. Hopefully this is all resolved without effecting the students, as they should be the priority for both organizations.
Old    Landan Luna (landowakettu)      Join Date: Nov 2009       04-03-2010, 8:14 AM Reply   
We, the Texas Tech Wakeboard and Waterski club chose the Empire Wake Collegiate Series for one reason mostly! We never heard anything about the USA Waterski events. Never have we once received anything from USA Waterski advertising their events since I have become an officer of the club. Granted our club before this year really wasn't into competing it was mostly done on a individual basis, if one of our riders wanted to compete somewhere they would. We received numerous emails from Rob and Empire Wake advertising their Collegiate Wake Series, even past officers that haven't been apart of the club in years were receiving emails.

I have never attended one of the USA Waterski events so I can't really remark on them. But I can say if they wish to do better, as in get more college teams to go to their events, they need to let people know and advertise their events MUCH better!
Old    Empire Wake (empire_wake)      Join Date: Nov 2009       04-08-2010, 5:59 PM Reply   
Empire Wake stands corrected. We were unaware there was a difference between USA Waterski and USA Wakeboard. It was an understanding that USA Waterski ran that organization.
We apologize for being incorrect and the cause of all this confusion among all the teams and sponsors.
Old    FSU Wakeboard (FSUwake)      Join Date: Apr 2010       04-08-2010, 9:18 PM Reply   
The FSU Wakboard Team originally competed in USA Waterski Regional Events. When I became president of this team i found out from one e-mail two weeks in advance of the Southeastern Regional Competition from USA Waterski. We attended and ironically Rob helped at those competitions. However that was the last we heard from USA Waterski until the one month notice of Nationals in California. After not attending this competition, I started to hear word that things did not go so well. The next fall, I immediately started getting advertisements for Empire Wake's Collegiate Competitions. I called Rob and the first thing I asked is what the relation was between this regional competition and the one we had attended the year before. We talked for about an hour and he clearly stated that it had nothing to do with USA Waterski but was simply another option to compete as/for the FSU Wakeboard Team. We waited to hear from other schools and decided to spend our alloted money on competing in Empire Wake's Competition. They just promised more and advertised constantly all over the internet and tried to create the amount of exposure that our club (and many other's) wants. When we showed up for Regionals we had a big cabin meeting with Rob where he clearly stated that the competition we were about to be in had nothing to do with USA Waterski. However, we were with about 10 other teams with cabins on the lake so whatever we were doing, we were pretty stoked for it. Everyone had an awesome time, much better structure was provided, the whole experience was sick. In the weeks after the competition we were articles all over the web and every week were updated on the following Regionals.

This situation with USA Waterski (USA Wakeboard?) and Empire Wake boils down to the fact that Empire Wake is a better run business as far as collegiate wakeboard competition. They advertise more, are more organized, and promise more results from the hard work that we as clubs put in every year. There is NO LEGITAMATE CONCERN FOR CONFUSION by USA Waterski. Empire Wake simply took over the collegiate wake scene in one year and USA Waterski is crippled by this. A lawyer searched for hours probably to find some reason to recieve compensation for there loss. There loss was due to their own laziness and disorganization.

If USA Waterski negatively effects Empire Wake in any way, they are simply trying to monopolize collegiate wakeboarding and while the couple people that run Empire Wake will be effected, 80% (supposedly) of all the national teams will the effected the most, so way to go on supporting th sport USA Waterski!!! As the largest club in the country, we know what company we will be competing under for years to come, because we want the most and the best for our Club and Team!
Old    Adam Van Dyke (lfadam)      Join Date: Nov 2008       04-08-2010, 9:42 PM Reply   
I basically second everything that FSUWake said. In regards to number 3 on A-dubs list, Im going to have to disagree on the idea that the students should run the competitions. I recently became president of VT Wake and can say firsthand that running a club takes a LOT of work and coordination. Having students organize events that are potentially far away, encompassing several schools, and the coordination between sponsors, students, clubs, etc would be incredibly difficult. Maybe Im just lazy, but I feel like taking care of everything related to our own clubs is more than enough work. Trying to organize a series of events that take even MORE effort than running a club in addition to what we already do would probably lead to some crappy events. Just a thought.

Ive known Rob since he started organizing local competitions in the NC/VA area and I see at least some of the hard work he does. He is totally committed to making the wakeboard scene grow and become the best it can be whether its grassroots events or collegiate wakeboarding. I have been so pumped to get to VT to participate in the awesome club we have here since high school, and Rob is making the experience vastly better for me, our club, and every other club. I feel like collegiate wakeboarding is finally a known entity and a new avenue of wakeboarding. There is now the grassroots, collegiate, and pro scene on the competition side of wakeboarding. Its great and I cant wait to see where it goes. We at VT are super excited for CWS Nationals and are thankful for everything Rob has done. Nothing against USA Wakeboard, we had fun at regionals and I heard nationals in san diego last year were cool too, but I am disappointed that it has come to legal action for someone who is merely trying to do good things for the wakeboarding world. He never mislead me or anyone at VT into thinking he was affiliated with USA Wakeboard. These are two separate entities and that has been clear since the day I learned of Empire Wake's CWS.
Old    Eric Christensen (nwryder84)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-13-2010, 4:07 PM Reply   
I just wanted to post in support of Rob and his hard work he has done with the Empire Collegiate Wake Series. As a collegiate competitor who has seen the transition from 3 event waterski to wakeboard and the need for a supportive foundation to host the events I have had no confusion between the differences of Empire Wake and USA Waterski. The inaugural collegiate events hosted by Empire Wake have been something that numerous schools and clubs have been asking about and petitioning for over the past few years. Rob took it upon himself to personally show up and host the regional qualifiers, ensuring that they were run according to his standards and that feedback (positive or negative was received). Rob never tried to run his events in the shadow of USA Waterski or connect himself with their business. Rob, made it clear, that he was a competitor in their eyes, but his goal, was to offer a rider-run event that listened to the students and was not trying to usurp their organization. Across the collegiate community many had become frustrated with the neglect they felt from sanctioned USA Waterski events that were becoming more and more about commercialization at the national level, but lacked organization at the regional level. Many competitors felt the national events no longer maintained the spirit of friendly university competition among students who shared a similar passion from across the country. Empire wake was a new outlet intending to crown a national champion among those schools willing to support this new idea (who was not the traditional governing body who has had a monopoly on national collegiate watersports for as long as I can remember). I had no confusion between the two very different organizations: requiring two different forms of insurance, having different, non-conflictive tournament dates, sanctioned under two different names, with two different titles up for grabs. Both organizations have contributed to our sport and both should be allowed to exist in the collegiate forum (no offesnse Rob). If one should prevail over the other then students who run the clubs and events should have a say in the matter. There are much different systems for the organization of collegiate waterskiing and in my opinion a greater effort put forth by USA Waterski that go beyond the tournament forum, that I would love to see crossed over into the wakeboard community. There are national conferences and strict bylaws with registered liaisons at all tournaments. Collegiate Wakeboarding might be an ugly duckling to some but it still deserves respect, dedication and support if someone wants to have control over it. Empire wake was born as well as I can see out of a desire for change voiced by collegiate teams across the nation. I personally, will not take a side in the matter. However I do believe Empire Wake is being treated unfairly with litigation attacks and threats, and I do believe the explicit differences were made explicitly clear with regards to the two being separate and unaffiliated organizations.
Old    Empire Wake (empire_wake)      Join Date: Nov 2009       04-16-2010, 6:00 PM Reply   
USA Wakeboard apparently has no intentions of letting up on this non sense. I want to keep this public and let you decide what to think....

Below is the newest threat:

I'm writing to follow up on our telephone conversation on Monday, April 12 on the above-noted matter. I spoke with Universal Presentation Concepts and representatives of USA Wakeboard, and they confirmed that they will not accept Empire Wake's use of a mark incorporating "Collegiate Wake ____", as this will cause confusion with UPC's / USA Wakeboard's COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS and related marks. As noted, UPC and USA Wakeboard have extensively promoted this mark for nearly a decade (if not longer), and their usage has been exclusive (and even Mr. Mendieta acknowledges as much, see, e.g., his press release at http://www.wakeworld.com/news/latest...-big-push.html, wherein he speaks of USA Wakeboard's "monopoly"). UPC and USA Wakeboard have established sufficient secondary meaning in the mark that another mark leading with "Collegiate Wake" will lead others to assume some form of connection to UPC and USA Wakeboard. This is particularly true of spectators, whose attention to (and recollection of) marks may be less rigorous than that of, say, participants.

Furthermore, a disclaimer would not cure the likelihood of confusion, since reverse confusion, initial interest confusion, and other types of actionable confusion can still arise. For example, if "Collegiate Wake Series" is accompanied by "Not Affiliated with USA Wakeboard" or the like, it does not avoid confusion amongst participants and others who do not realize that USA Wakeboard is the provider of COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

UPC and USA Wakeboard therefore require that Mr. Medieta immediately cease use of any marks incorporating "Collegiate Wake ____", or which are otherwise likely to cause confusion with COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, and refrain from future use of such marks. As discussed, marks utilizing "university," "intervarsity," or other terms equivalent to "collegiate" might provide sufficient differentiation (though this of course cannot be verified until Mr. Medieta's mark is seen). Should Mr. Medieta proceed with use of a "Collegiate Wake ____" mark, UPC and USA Wakeboard will take appropriate action to protect their valued rights.

Don't hesitate to call or otherwise contact me if discussion would be useful. Regards,

----

Craig Fieschko
DeWitt Ross & Stevens

2 E. Mifflin St., 6th Floor
Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608) 395-6722
Facsimile: (608) 252-9243
www.dewittross.com
Old    jeff goldblum (jeffcanary62)      Join Date: Apr 2003       04-17-2010, 7:43 PM Reply   
To USA Waterski
If you want to run "collegiate nationals" then I recommend you hire someone who will respond to emails as a start. Receiving an email after the contest entry fee is supposed to be due and saying there is now a late fee does not encourage teams to participate.This was the first email we got about registration after we qualified.

Now Empire Wake
Despite any name change that needs to be made teams will still continue to support your efforts as it is clear how hard you guys are working to put on an event. Thank you for continued effort and supporting collegiate wakeboarding and we look forward to the events and things to come next year.

Jeff
Old    Eric Christensen (nwryder84)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-21-2010, 9:32 PM Reply   
Just want to say THANKS to Rob and his crew of DJ's, drivers and judges who all took a wet whomping in Texas this past week/end and never gave up on making sure the tournament was seen all the way through. That's what it takes and you did it and somehow everyone kept a great attitude because they ones hosting the tournament didn't let the weather get them down. Most people would have given up, but you stuck it out for all the schools that made the trip out to nationals.
Old    Nick Heckerson (kstateskier)      Join Date: May 2002       04-25-2010, 9:31 AM Reply   
I'd have to agree with A-Dub on a couple things. First, collegiate water ski tournaments have been run by students as part of USA WaterSki for 40 some years and are very successful. The National Collegiate Water Ski Association affiliated with USA WaterSki is a very well run organization made up of current and former collegiate skiers.

Now from the little experience I have had with USA Wakeboard, it's events are not near up to the level that the NCWSA ran events are and this is almost entirely attributed to the fact that most of the wakeboard clubs are not organized to the extent of many of the school's water ski clubs. I hope that this is changing, as I truly believe student run events can lead to great experience that is never taught in a class. I was the President of the Kansas State Water Ski Team. We added a wakeboard club during my tenure there (the club has since split off). I helped organize probably 10 ski tournaments and two wakeboard tournaments during my years at K-State and that experience was very valuable to me in my career.

Now I am very glad to hear what Empire is doing is successful. I think the Collegiate wakeboarders deserve a good format as well, but I hope this doesn't turn into the INT vs. USA Water Ski debacle in the long run. I think INT was a fantastic format in the first years but grew into such a corporate event over the years it has run off many people and the events are not near as enjoyable as they used to be. I hope Empire can slowly start including more college students into their organizational meetings and then you could have the best of both worlds.
Old    Empire Wake (empire_wake)      Join Date: Nov 2009       06-01-2010, 6:47 PM Reply   
The presidents and team managers of the collegiate teams are who help us make all our decisions. Each event has a host school that works WITH us to make the events come together, however we take the burden off their shoulders and allowing them more time dedicated to school and not the endless hours it takes hosting an event.
The clubs have done a great job working with us and have all expressed relief that they don't have to put it all together on their own. Most riders don't have time to do this with classes, work and other activities.
We also feel it is a better formula to have a standard system that is the same at every event with the same judging, points, and rules. We feel it is better to have the clubs help at each stop as opposed to putting it all on them to make an event happen. Empire Wake even offers 20% back to any club that helps make an event possible.
This year the events move to some new locations and offer more opportunities for clubs to ride!
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       06-09-2010, 3:10 PM Reply   
Rob, you ought to retain a trademark attorney to fight your fight. I'm one, but I decline.

UPC has a federal Supplemental registration of COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS in which the phrase NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS is disclaimed. A supplemental registration signifies that UPC accepted a concession to the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) that the PTO does accept that the phrase COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD functions as a service mark of UPC. On the other hand, the PTO will accept evidence later from UPC that perhaps ... just perhaps ... the phrase COLLEGIATE WAKEBOARD has acquired service mark status in the public's perception because any kind of thing, like lots of advertising dollars, surveys that COLLEGIATE WAKE*** is associated in the opinioins of a significant number of relevant people with the UPC organization.

By the way, UPC owns the registration.
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       06-09-2010, 4:09 PM Reply   
eek ... should read, "...does not..."

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