North Face Wants Court To Spank Butt Face

from the rear-ended-by-the-law dept

Remember South Butt? They're the relatively small and vulgarly-named clothing manufacturer North Face took to court over trademark infringement. Soon after, South Butt decided to use the lawsuit as a marketing ploy and then responded in court with a hysterical legal filing. We said at the time that moving forward with a lawsuit was a poor choice by North Face, serving only to fuel publicity for what it misguidedly saw as a competitor.

Proving that learning a lesson is very, very difficult, North Face has taken the former owners of South Butt to court again. What happened at the conclusion of the original lawsuit was South Butt agreed to drop their brand entirely as part of an injunction. Then, according to North Face, they jumped right back into their old shenannigan ways, forming the company Why Climb Mountains LLC and registering for a trademark on their new brand Butt Face. As if all of this wasn't funny enough, the following is taken from North Face's filing, in which they are asking for WCM LLC to be held in contempt, to recover costs, and for disgorgement for trademark violations:
"A survey conducted by plaintiff shows that approximately 35 percent of respondents identify The North Face as being associated with The Butt Face trademark when shown a sample of contempt respondents' T-shirts. Not only are contempt respondents now engaged in the widespread sale and promotion of The Butt Face branded goods, but Why Climb Mountains, LLC also has filed for registration of The Butt Face trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office."

If this is alledging brand confusion, I'm at a loss as to exactly how North Face went out and managed to collect what has to be the world's most hurried morons in a single room as a method for getting 35% of them to think Butt Face and North Face were the same thing. WCM's lawyer seems to feel similarly skeptical:
""The South Butt and Olop [South Butt's sister line] are genuinely committed to the fundamental concept that the consuming public is perfectly capable of discerning the difference between a direction point on a compass and that part of the body from which solid waste is evacuated," [Albert] Watkins said in a statement."

The other interesting tidbit in North Face's complaints is that they believe...wait for it...that WCM's owners are simply using the lawsuits filed against it as publicity. They reached the same conclusion as we had years ago. But, in an apparent attempt to test a theory called "litigation through stubborness", they filed suit and gave their adversaries more ammuntion for publicity. It would be as though I had an ant problem in my kitchen because I left some honey out on the counter and my response was to cover the counter in honey while complaining about the ants marching in.

In the end, North Face likely would have been far better served to ignore South Butt along with its new iteration, Butt Face. On the other hand, if they had, I never would have had the pleasure of writing the headline for this article. So, you know, thanks for that I guess.


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