Retail Refugees


North Face vs. South Butt
April 12, 2010, 10:59 am
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags: ,

Big corporate giant versus independent small town shop…  it is an old story, but one without as much humor as this one.  To me, the entire idea of a legal issue with this is ludicrous, but one that has happened nonetheless.

The South Butt was started two year ago by Jimmy Winkelmann of suburban St. Louis, though he’s now a 19-year-old college freshman studying biomedical engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Winkelmann has said he started the business to make money for college.

The company sells products with the tag line, “Never Stop Relaxing,” a parody of The North Face line, “Never Stop Exploring.” A wavelike pattern and the company name appear near the upper right or left shoulder on jackets and shirts, similar to the logo and placement used by The North Face.

The North Face, a San Leandro, Calif.-based division of VF Corp, sued in December. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and asked the court to prohibit The South Butt from making, marketing and selling its line of fleeces, T-shirts and shorts.

At issue was the question of parody or piracy. The lawsuit claimed The South Butt marketed apparel that “infringes and dilutes The North Face’s famous trademarks and duplicates The North Face’s trade dress in its iconic Denali jacket,” referring to a popular fleece jacket marketed by the company.

“While defendants may try to legitimize their piracy under the banner of parody, their own conduct belies that claim,” the suit said, noting that The South Butt had twice attempted to obtain a U.S. trademark registration.

In a whimsical response Watkins wrote that “the consuming public is well aware of the difference between a face and a butt …”

The South Butt Logo https://i0.wp.com/www.whirlawaysports.com/graphics/The-North-Face-Logo.jpg

(via msnbc)

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