I ran across this article in the online ABA Journal: “The North Face sues the South Butt for Trademark Infringement.” I didn’t take any classes on intellectual property while I was in law school, but right off the bat, I think it would be hard to confuse the two brands…if anything, wouldn’t South Butt be a mockery of the North Face?
Sure enough, even the web site for the renegade clothing maker, which specializes in clothing for people who are more interest in comfort, relaxation, and “being yourself,” carries a warning against stupidity:
We are not in any fashion related to nor do we want to be confused with The North Face Apparel Corp. or its products sold under “The North Face” brand. If you are unable to discern the difference between a face and a butt, we encourage you to buy North Face products.
I don’t know if the clothes South Butt sells–which North Face alleges includes knock-offs of their “iconic Denali jacket”–is really going to hurt the North Face brand, but it certainly does make me want to buy a t-shirt myself, if just for the double takes I know I’ll get next time I drop into REI.