Companies in New Jersey and around the country file applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to protect branding elements like their names and logos, but their applications sometimes prompt other businesses to take legal action to prevent what is known as trademark dilution. They might do so to maintain brand uniqueness against businesses that have similar names even when their product lines do not overlap. The apparel and footwear company Under Armor has initiated several such actions.
Under Armor’s latest trademark dilution legal action is against an Oregon-based apparel company called Cascade Armory. The owners of Cascade Armory say that they received a cease and desist letter from Under Armor shortly after filing a trademark application in 2018. The husband and wife team say that they offered to change the name of their company if Under Armor agreed to pay $200,000 in rebranding costs. They claim Under Armor offered them $200. The Baltimore-based company reported 2018 sales of more than $5 billion.
Under Armor recently took similar action against the faith-based apparel retailer Armor & Glory. The company subsequently rebranded under the name AG365 to avoid a costly legal battle that they could not be sure of winning. The legal action against Cascade Armory could backfire on Under Armor as it has prompted a community backlash. A local brewer has released a beer named Blunder Armor to raise money to pay the local company’s legal bills, and a support petition on change.org has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.
Attorneys with experience in U.S. trademark law may try to settle disputes of this kind discretely to avoid negative media attention and costly litigation. However, when their clients appear to be the victims of corporate bullying, attorneys may seek to level the playing field by enlisting the help of sympathetic media outlets and community groups.