Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The North Face sues teenager

The North Face Apparel Corp. is suing a small suburban St. Louis-area company called The South Butt and the teenager who started it. The lawsuit filed last week in federal court in St. Louis seeks unspecified damages and asks the court to prohibit The South Butt from marketing and selling its parody product line.

The South Butt's attorney, Albert Watkins, says The South Butt was started by 18-year-old Jimmy Winkelmann to help pay for college. It puts out products with the tag line, "Never Stop Relaxing," a parody of The North Face line, "Never Stop Exploring."

The lawsuit says The South Butt is trying to "legitimize piracy under the banner of parody."

You gotta love this! Clearly the North Face has a legitimate beef with Winkelmann regarding the logo. However, I'm not so sure about the name or the tag line.

Maybe the North Face should settle this one out of court. Have Winkelmann shut down the business, but agree to pay for his college and then hire him as a junior marketing exec after he graduates!


Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

2 comments:

JP said...

I made a comment about this on a Recreation Law blog earlier, but I think you are right about the logo causing the teen trouble.

With that said, I do find South Butt's lawyer's comment hilarious, " we believe our customers know the difference in a face and a butt."

Obviously in reference to trademark law's requirement that the alleged infringement be likely to confuse the public.

I'm not sure if South Butt can win this one, but they have a case and are apparently willing to fight it out.

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

JP - I didn't see that comment - that is great!

Jeff