Patagonia may have a reputation for philanthropy, but it’s not interested in giving away its intellectual property.
The Ventura, Calif.-based outdoor gear and apparel company told a federal court last week that Dazzle Up, a small web site selling T-shirts, hats and socks under the Simply Southern brand, is ripping off its trademarked logo depicting a silhouette of the Fitz Roy mountain range and a stylized skyline for a line of T-shirts.
Patagonia has been using the logo since its founding in the mid-Seventies and first earned trademark protection in 1984 covering the mark’s use on a full range of apparel and accessories. Two additional trademarks covering different versions and another use of the logo came in 1989 and 1993, respectively, and Patagonia also owns a copyright of the image.
“The Patagonia trademark is registered throughout the world; it is distinctive, arbitrary and fanciful and is entitled to the broadest scope of protection,” the company said in its complaint.
Patagonia noted that its logo has risen to the status of a “famous” mark within trademark law, considering it has acquired “enormous goodwill” among U.S. and international consumers, who recognize the mark as a signifier of the company’s goods.
“Long after the Patagonia trademark became famous, Dazzle Up began marketing and selling apparel throughout the U.S. that bear a copycat logo,” the company said. “As is immediately apparent, even from a close side-by-side comparison, Dazzle Up’s design reproduces a nearly identical copy of the Patagonia trademark.”
Patagonia pointed to the silhouetting, the uneven stripes and even the text on Dazzle Up’s T-shirt as clearly taken from its trademarked design.
“Except as a deliberate reference to the Patagonia trademark, there is no explanation for the degree of copying involved in Dazzle Up’s logo,” Patagonia added.
With such similarities, Patagonia said consumers are likely to be confused about where Dazzle Up’s product came from and whether it’s affiliated with Patagonia, while diluting the “distinctiveness” of the trademark.
As such, Patagonia asked the court for an immediate and permanent injunction against Dazzle Up and $150,000 in damages for each infringement, as well as a disgorgement of any related profits.
A representative of Dazzle Up could not be reached for comment.
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