North Face Decides South Butt Lawsuit Is Not Worth Exploring

from the that's-where-they-stop-exploring dept

The lawsuit between North Face and South Butt sure was entertaining (especially the filings by South Butt's lawyer). However, with the North Face getting some pretty bad publicity over its tactics, which seemed to focus more on embarrassing the founder of the South Butt and his father, it looks like the North Face has realized this was one lawsuit not worth exploring.

Late Friday, the two sides settled -- and while the terms of the settlement appear to be under wraps, there's no indication that the South Butt is going away any time soon:
The most recent post on South Butt's Facebook page, meawhile, states that founder Jimmy Winkelmann, a freshman biomedical engineering student at the University of Missouri, was "partying hard in Panama City with South Butt." Watkins said the settlement did not prevent his client from handing out merchandise while in Florida on spring break.

"Jimmy was down in Panama City having a great deal of fun, enjoying a number of young ladies who enjoyed themselves donning and sporting South Butt wear," Watkins says. "He immediately returned to Panama City to give away many more T-shirts."
Just imagine how much better things would have worked out if the North Face hadn't lawyered up over this, but had simply talked to the South Butt guys and worked out a friendly deal in the first place?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    Yeah, it would've been nice if they hadn't lawyered up.

    But lawyers are starting to run this country, and when the lawyers tell you that you need to lawyer up, 99 times out of 100 more people are going to listen to the lawyer than to common sense.

    Damn shame, really.

     

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  2.  
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    bishboria (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 6:36am

    I hope that North Face wasted a lot of money, and lost lots of customers, because of this idiotic court case.

     

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  3.  
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    Fame Appeal, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Lawyers are not bad

    Do not blame the lawyers... The client, which in this case is North Face, has a claim for infringement, all the lawyers are doing is arguing North Face's case.

    This dispute does a good job at demonstrating how valuable PR is to the public. Educated consumers (like those who purchase North face) will undoubtedly know about the south butt issue, and lawyers in the future will advise their client not to make the "north face mistake"

    I am currently in law school and love this area of law... www.fameappeal.com

     

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  4.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    Can't say for North Face, but I'd bet that South Butt got a lot of new customers.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    known coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    No I am glad of the lawsuit

    Otherwise, i would have never heard of south butt and can not go out and buy their products.

    AND

    I learned what shits North butt are (ooop soory north face I do not wnat to cause any confusion), and that i will never buy any of their products.

    So i see two positives from this mess.

     

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  6.  
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    Dallas IT Guy, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Lawyers are not bad

    I think the whole point of the discussion has been that good business and legal advice would have been, "No good will come of litigating this."

    We don't know what advice was given, but the decision was to litigate. The lawyers may have advised against that course of action, but I'm guessing not.

     

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  7.  
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    Hulser (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    About the headline...

    "North Face Decides South Butt Lawsuit Is Not Worth Exploring"

    Exploring? Um...isn't the exploration stage long gone by the time a lawsuit is actually filed? The headline sounds like some euphamistic PR blather from North Face rather than an accurate description of what actually happened.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Re: About the headline...

    No, I think it was an excuse to put "butt" and "exploring" in the same sentence. Very slashdot-esque...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Dave, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    Streisand

    Interesting! I think a very few companies are slowly grasping that bringing attention to their stupidity with the Streisand Effect isn't a great idea.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    bob, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    I am starting a new line of t shirts

    really two new lines.

    East Tit

    and

    West Tit

    Remember the limes call birds tits, but I like my birds to have tits.

    ;P

    East Tit and West Tit are copyrighted under the provision of law where bob likes tits SP.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re: Lawyers are not bad

    "Do not blame the lawyers... all the lawyers are doing is arguing North Face's case. "

    Um, the lawyers are also advising their client whether or not they should litigate.

    Don't get me wrong, it is ultimately up to the client, but if the North faces' lawyers had been working for free this case would likely have been settled without seeing a court room.

    Good luck with law school and I hope you choose to work for the people over the money.

     

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  12.  
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    Joel (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 8:10am

    Big Company playing ddddumbbbb

    North Face had no reason to do this, it was a dumb excuse to get in the "news" they knew what they were doing.

    Any publicity is good publicity.

    In this case both companies ended up winning; which is good for business.

     

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  13.  
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    bubba, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Re: Lawyers are not bad

    we don't know what happened, but a smart lawyer would have explained the streisand effect (call it what you want, nobody is going to refer to retarded lawyer fed decisions as "the north face mistake"). i would imagine they did not and advised them to go forward but because lawyers in general are nothing but greedy arrogant weasels. now they have lost customers, bad PR, look like bullies, and get to pay legal bills as well...

     

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  14.  
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    max.elliott (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    What compromise?

    "Hi, Northface CEO here. Please stop making money by making fun of me and my company."?

    What are the SF guys going to say? "Oh, sorry, making millions IS a bad idea. We'll just go back to that job we hate."? I know someone who makes parody t-shirts and items and he attempts to provoke this kind of suit just for the attention, it increases sales and gives him something else to point at and say "Oh, Yeah, they deserve my mocking. look at what A$$#@!3$ they are." If he got that call, he'd find some way to bait them just before hanging up on them.

     

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  15.  
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    JustMe (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re: Fame Appeal

    Other than the generic word "the" how is 'The North Face' at all similar to 'The South Butt' ? In point of fact, it appears to be completely the opposite. Fail to see how this infringes in any way.


    Also, personal WooHoo to me because I'm sure it was my ongoing email dialog with The North Face PR person(s) that made them change their mind.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re:

    That pretty much sums it up. The real winner in all this was South Butt. Because all this publicity has added to their profits.

     

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  17.  
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    angry at society, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Does anybody think before they type?

    Ok, first off, blaming Lawyers? They are just doing the job that they chose to build a career off of, lay off 'em. And are we really all for this Winkelman because he is the small business young entrepreneur and North Face is a large billon dollar company? The little bastard stole a logo and created a very funny play on words, and should be rewarded lightly.

    If you worked for North Face you would be furious. Stop picking sides and realize Winkelman should have had a few shirts and a good joke, not company.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    Winkelman "should have had" whatever the hell he wanted, because the law is perfectly on his side.

    The lawyers "should have" advised their clients they were pursuing a fruitless endeavour that could only result in a non-existent competitor gaining more publicity.

    North face "should have" stopped being bullies right from the get-go, instead of thinking that massive pockets and heavy-handed legal tactics could squash everything they wanted.

    How about you stop picking sides, and actually pay attention to the law at hand?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Re: Lawyers are not bad

    This dispute does a good job at demonstrating how valuable PR is to the public. Educated consumers (like those who purchase North face) will undoubtedly know about the south butt issue, and lawyers in the future will advise their client not to make the "north face mistake"

    I've been hearing that for years. And years. Just last year, we were told that lawyers finally understood this and wouldn't do things like this in the future:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090405/1832594397.shtml

    How did that work out?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    angry and society, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    A perfect example of not thinking before the fingers pump out gibberish. You seem to keep saying the same old crap everyone is saying.... "should woulda could lawyer this lawyer that" I did not pick a side. Did you read something that said good for North Face? I simply stated a fact, you cannot steal a logo and change the name as a funny joke and expect it to be legal. It works if you are a producer of lots of those types of shirts, but where it gets wrong, is trying to make a shit ton of money off of an existing giant. Sort of the same idea when you get hired for a job and sign the confidentiality document that states you will not start your own company using ideas or clients from your current one.

    Say your a lawyer, your client is North Face. They pay you, you go to court. Since when does taking less money and deciding not to go to court make sense in a seemingly non-sense case. No one is getting hurt here, except some feelings. And well now, your self as your point you tried to make is a copy and past of the last 10 posts. GOOD ONE!

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    "Since when does taking less money and deciding not to go to court make sense in a seemingly non-sense case."

    Man, if public tax dollars were being spent to oversee this case, you could make the argument that the lawyers owe it to society not to participate in frivolous cases like this one.

    However, since it is all happening in a privately-funded court system, no one from the public has the right to be angry if the court's time and money is wasted on a case like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Dementia (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    As I recall he didn't steal their logo. He may have modified and adapted it for his use, but he certainly did not take their logo and deny them the use of it. To that end, as with the post previous to yours, he just about inverted it, then changed the lines some, so it is almost completely opposite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    Ok, first off, blaming Lawyers? They are just doing the job that they chose to build a career off of, lay off 'em.

    If they make a decision that harms a business, does that not make them fair game? Just curious. Or are we not allowed to criticize anyone "just doing their job"? Please explain, since you seem to know the rules.

    And are we really all for this Winkelman because he is the small business young entrepreneur and North Face is a large billon dollar company?

    Now, we're "all for" Winkelman because what TNF did made little sense from either a legal or business standpoint.

    The little bastard stole a logo and created a very funny play on words, and should be rewarded lightly.

    He stole nothing.

    If you worked for North Face you would be furious.

    Being furious is not a reason for a misguided lawsuit. In fact, if you file lawsuits because you are furious, you will quickly find yourself in trouble. Which is what happened to the North Face.

    Stop picking sides

    Ah, yes. "Don't have an opinion!" Very convincing.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: I am starting a new line of t shirts

    No, they call tits tits. A tit is a specific species, not birds in general.

     

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  25.  
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    JustMe (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

    Logos

    Looking at the logos themselves I see a different number of line segments and a different orientation.


    The North Face Logo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_The_North_Face.png

    The South Butt Logo
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/25/The_South_Butt_logo.png

    Are curved line segments the exclusive domain of THF now? If that's so, then there are many companies who would beg to differ.


    Now, as to their claim of exclusivity, here is what Wiki says about their logo:

    "The North Face's logo consists of a slightly skewed quarter-circle with two lines running within it. This image is an interpretation of Half Dome, a massive granitic monolith in Yosemite National Park,[4] viewed from the west, with the sheer north (or northwest) face of Half Dome to the left." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_North_Face

    Since when did the silhouette of Yosemite's Half Dome become TNF's property? Last time I was there I'm pretty sure I was in a *public* national park. Where is my cut for decades of profit?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    "I simply stated a fact, you cannot steal a logo and change the name as a funny joke and expect it to be legal."

    Wrong.

    "Sort of the same idea when you get hired for a job and sign the confidentiality document that states you will not start your own company using ideas or clients from your current one."

    If by "same idea" you mean "completely different situation" and "I have no idea what I'm talking about" then sure, they're the same idea.

     

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  27.  
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    a-dub (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 7:20am

    "I simply stated a fact, you cannot steal a logo and change the name as a funny joke and expect it to be legal."

    Have you even seen the two logos? They are very, very different except for the font. Stop trolling.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    you know who, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Does anybody think before they type?

    Ah yes, the classic post someone's line and dog on them. You must know the North Face lawyer's. I am saying people have too much of an opinion on a stupid case like this. I am dumbfounded at how many wasted minutes there are of people analyzing this event. I am sick of trying to save face, GROW UP, GET A JOB, worry about something else.

    And yes people just doing there fucking job is an excellent excuse. ITS THEIR FUCKING JOB DICKWEED.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    ragman/ co inventor of polarfleece, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    what to do going forward... the lesson to think about..

    Today, some 90 years since tee shirts were invented the tee shirt is the most popular political tool on the planet.
    Sweatshirts are now 80 years old and hardly ever used for sweating as they were first intended to be used.
    Fleece, while invented to be used as an outdoor sweater now almost 30 years later has become the corporate icon of marketing business brands.
    No matter what trademark or saying is presented in what is clearly marketing these iconic designs, the fact that this got into a shameless fight of lawyers poking out people and their businesses, suggests that both sides need to get real about how much it costs to be in business, pay fair wages to employees and do something worthwhile for the economy of America.
    Nothing can do that better in todays world than a message on a tee shirt.
    At least that is what the world has decided to do with tee shirts at this time in our evolution of wearing clothing and having a voice of choice.
    If Jimmy wants to stay in the clothing business his path challenges far more than a parody of words.
    If North Face wants to be a world leader in exploring it is time to explore new ways of keeping you outdoors while the environment lives a sustainable way of life.
    Stop exploring political clothing...
    Hopefully the lesson learned will green up the planet not a bank account in a lawyers check book.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Bob Hanson, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Good For South Butt

    For once the little guy might have won. This is a good example of how big business and lawyers can F--K things up.
    Give this kid a break he came up with a novel idea and a big corporate bully who was so afraid that joe consumer would get the two confused...give me a break. Unless Joe was brain dead I think he would know the difference between the two companies.
    As far as I am concerned I will never buy another North Face product and there Yuppie status will surely DIE the sooner the better. LONG LIVE SOUTH BUTT!!!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Lawyers are not bad

    No, blame the lawyers Fame. They settled because in all likelihood it looks like they didn't have a claim, and the client can't be blamed for following what turns out to be poor legal advice.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Julia Havey, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 5:34am

    Albert Watkins

    Northface backed down when they realized that while little Jimmy Winkleman may be naive,young and wet behind the ears that he managed to find the legal equivalent to a PittBull to do his fighting in the legal ring that NorthFace choose to force him to defend himself.

    America was built by creativity and entrepreneurism. For an industry giant to try to bury this kid was wrong. No one with a functioning brain would have confused buying warm mountain climbing gear with a fun parody. Winkelman should thank NorthFace as he ultimately sell more goods than had NorthFace stuck to what they do best.

    I for one won't be as likely be buy NorthFace now, in fact, I think my favorite Under Armor could use some parody, Jimmy, how about your next line....Under Amore sexy lingerie?

    Albert Watkins has been my attorney for years, taking on another giant when every personal injury attorney in St. Louis turned me down, despite my daughter spending 7 days in the ICU, under going 5 surgeries and a 8 inch gash on her 10 inch forearm and $45,000 in medical bills. All from a for profit restaurant play area fall. Sadly I was told "a white kid from West County would never win this case and _____ would spend millions making sure they didn't lose.

    Well thankfully Albert Watkins has balls, large brass balls to quote him and he isn't afraid to use them to fight for the underdog.

    Lawyers in general may have a bad rep but Albert Watkins is poetic, honorable and loves law because of the true justice that it is suppossed to bring the injured party.

    Albert, well done my friend. From all of us underdogs, YOU ROCK!

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    guy, May 8th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    lawyered up???

    North Face did offer to help winklemann sell his crap legally, he refused. winklemann's daddy is wealthy scumbag. Watkins is personal friends with james winklemann this whole scam has 99% of you people thinking little jimmy winklmann is a victim of corporate smashing of the little man. Little jimmy winklemann is obviously the frontman for someone else aiming to get north face bad publicity. You all fell for it suckers. this wont affect north face, people who buy their stuff buy because no one else makes quality stuff like them.This whole reminds me of the little punk being allowed to push the big dog around until the big dog snaps back or some hollywood has been releasing a sex tape.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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