Ironclad Lawsuit?

Clothing signals dispute

A private label for Dick’s Sporting Goods is wrapped up in a legal dispute with a company that specializes in sports apparel, team uniforms, and jerseys.  Launched within the past decade, Wooter advertises a unique infinity symbol that appears to resemble two semi-open links in a chain.  About a year following Wooter’s development, the brand Calia was introduced with Carrie Underwood as the face of the women’s activewear line.  Although Underwood left the brand two years ago, Calia continues to drive impressive sales for Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Filed in a federal court in New York, Wooter establishes a claim for trademark violation, citing recognizable similarities between its logo and Calia’s insignia.  Virtually, upon comparison, there are very few dissimilarities between the two logos.  While both appear to mimic the infinity symbol, the link in Wooter’s emblem is open at the center.  In addition, the left link is colored red, and the right link is blue.  Calia’s logo, in white-colored font, resembles links that are also open at the center, as well as the top and bottom of the symbol.  According to Wooter’s allegations, the parallels in logo appearance may cause customer confusion.

According to the lawsuit, the US Patent and Trademark Office allegedly provided prior notice or warning to Dick’s Sporting Goods about the logo and the possible confusions in brand recognition that it may pose.  Upon first glance, it is clear that the brand insignias are quite comparable, however, the fact that both brands offer sportswear or activewear apparel furthers the trademark issue.  Calia’s success may aid in the argument for compensation, as possible lost revenue for Wooter.  The plaintiff is seeking at least $8 million in damages.  Dick’s Sporting Goods has claimed that its private women’s clothing brand has generated the second largest revenue stream for the company behind Nike.