Trademark Infringement Lawsuit
Sportswear clothing company Wooter sued Dick’s Sporting Goods over similarities between the two companies clothing logo on Tuesday in New York Federal Court (23-cv-07931). In the lawsuit, Wooter claims that Dicks’s use for its clothing brand Calia of a similiar infinity style trademark was likely to create consumer confusion based on the similiarty of their trademark and the companies’ overlaping clothing markets.
In the trademark lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Wooter said that Calia’s logo is virtually identical to its infinity-symbol branding and likely to cause customer confusion. The company said that the two logos are so similar that consumers are likely to mistake Calia products for Wooter products, or vice versa. Wooter is seeking an injunction to prevent Dick’s from using the Calia logo, as well as damages for trademark infringement.
How similar are the logos?
Under trademark law, a trademark owner can prevent another trademark owner from creating confusion. Often times, the initial threashold question for similiarity of marks considers similiarty in appearance, sound, meaning and commercial impression. A likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers will mistakenly believe they come from the same source. In the Wooter and Calia case, both logos are infinity symbols. The Wooter logo is a solid infinity symbol, while the Calia logo has a broken infinity symbol. The Wooter logo is also slightly thicker than the Calia logo. However, the two logos share some similarities. Both logos are infinity signs, both are black and white, and both are used on athletic apparel. In fact, the Trademark Office when reviewing the Calia logo cited the Wooter logo as a basis for rejecting the Calia logo based on a potential for confusion.
Is there a likelihood of customer confusion?
Whether there is a likelihood of customer confusion is a key question in trademark infringement cases. To determine whether there is a likelihood of confusion, courts consider a number of factors, including the similarity of the marks, the similarity of the goods and services sold, and the channels of trade. Often times a consumer survey is used to determine whether consumers would believe that the brands at issue are related, affiliated, connected, or that the goods or services originate from the same source. In this case, the two logos are very similar. Both logos are similiar in sight, both are infinity symbols, and both are used on the same goods, athletic apparel. In addition, Wooter and Calia sell their products through similar channels, such as retail and online stores.
What could happen next?
The case is still in its early stages. It is possible that the two parties will reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. However, if the case does go to trial, a jury will decide whether Dick’s infringed Wooter’s trademark. If the jury finds that Dick’s infringed Wooter’s trademark, Wooter could be awarded an injunction to prevent Dick’s from using the Calia logo, as well as damages for trademark infringement.
Implications for other businesses
This case is a reminder of the importance of trademark protection. Businesses should also be careful when choosing a logo. If a business chooses a logo that is too similar to another company’s logo, it could be sued for trademark infringement. Businesses should consider a trademark search in advance of using a mark to determine if there is a potential issue and if not, should seek a trademark attorney to register and protect their brand from trademark infringement.