Sportswear giant Under Armour has pledged a relentless court battle against any company using its trademark name for profit. The company has proceeded to make good its threat by launching a flurry of lawsuits involving multiple companies for what it terms trademark infringement that could confuse its clients.
Under Armour has grown from a basement company founded in 1996 to America’s second largest sportswear company. Last year it did over $3 billion in sales.
The company attributes its rise to staying true to their clients’ requests and a strong brand presence, one that it says is being eroded by the heavy use of its trademark name by other retailers.
Recently, the company served a local Maryland company named Armor & Glory with lawsuit papers for trademark infringement on their name. The giant sports retailer said the Maryland company’s name was “ likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception” and that it would “dilute the distinctiveness” and “further damage and irreparably injure” the company’s strong nationwide brand.”
Terrance Jackson, founder of Armor & Glory was not impressed. He said, “It’s trademark bullying at its finest. I’m the little kid in the group and they’re trying to kick dirt on my new shoes. The name came to him one morning, from “the full armor of God” cited in Ephesians 6:11. “When God gave this [name] to me, I never thought once about those guys. We don’t even spell it like them.”
Under Armour, through their Washington attorneys Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, said they would be seeking to have Armor & Glory permanently destroy all of their branded products, relinquish their domain name and profits, pay their legal fees and also damages worth $100,000, the same amount that sums up the small company’s revenues since 2013.
Armor & Glory is not the only company Under Armour has gone after. It has also sued sports drink maker Body Armor, fishing apparel company Salt Armour and snowboarding shorts maker Ass Armor.
The recent campaign by Under Armour was laid down to protect its brands which include ArmourChill, ArmourLoft, ArmourStorm, OffshoreArmour and Baby Armour.
Under Armour has vowed to continue with litigation against any company that comes close to infringing on their trademark.
The case highlights the massive power large, well-funded, companies wield over small competitors - perceived or actual. The mere threat of a lawsuit can ruin small businesses who are not even competing against a powerful trademark holder that has eyes on their market.
Under Armour refused to comment on the ongoing litigation.