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back to article The North Face trips over The South Butt

A Missouri teenager is defying the might of clothing manufacturer The North Face, which is a bit hacked off at his "The South Butt" range of clobber. The North face and The South Butt logos The North Face Apparel Corp moved in August to eliminate the threat to its international business posed by 18-year-old Jimmy Winkelmann and …

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Economic Stimulus

Just get big companies to serve letters to smaller ones = instant profit.

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Coat

Like

This does, like, sound like a, like, good idea, but, like, his apparent insistence on, like, saying "like" every, like, 3 words is kind of, like, annoying.

And his logo is a bit too obviously *like* North Face's, so cannot be too surprised they are kicking up a fuss.

However, all these The North Face wearers do look a tad same-y, so he has a point, but now it's time to admit defeat.

Mine's the one with a copy of "Sometime's the big corps are right" in its over-stuffed, boldly-logo'd pocket

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Free advertisement

Once again some small unknown company will have free advertisement because of large one's ineptitude. After short struggle.

I liked the part about bottle of burgundy. ;)

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Stop

Different enough IMO

not to confuse.

If the logo was "North Place" or WHY, I'd agree.

I

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Joke

I see no difference

They both fleece their customers.

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Grenade

[No Title]

I would be inclined to refer North Face to Pressdram vs Arkell (http://www.nasw.org/users/nbauman/arkell.htm)

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Hate to say it ...

... but I tend to side with The North Face here. I'm not pro-big business, and I wouldn't be caught dead in their clothing, but the way that the lawyers have written the laws here in the United States of Litigation, they have to pursue something like this or every man jack and woman jill will try to make use of their name and logo. If they weren't to pursue it, and it was shown that they knew about South Butt, it could be used against them in court. They're rather backed into a corner, and from the story it seems they haven't been too heavy-handed about it.

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Logo was his mistake

If the logo wasn't such an obvious rip off he'd of been ok with the name I think, so he IS at fault. Nice parody though.

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Anonymous Coward

Streisand effect

When will they learn?

Unless they have already learnt and the free advertising works both ways...

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In a grand tradition

I think the women who sold Calvin Swine jeans got away with it. And wasn't there a "Lardache" once upon a time?

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Stop

Kevin and Perry Go Large

If memory serves correctly - weren't Kevin and Perry in the aforementioned movie wearing "South Face" gear?

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Stop

Good stuff.

If you really use your outdoor wear for it's purpose, other than for following the other chavs on the high street - then TNF stuff is OK - but I've always found Columbia and Mountain Equipment clothing much more hard wearing and suited to task.

Oh... I don't care either way about this story.

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Nev
Coat

The big question is...

... when are Columbia (The outdoor garment people) and Sun Microsystems going to have-at-it?

Their logos are almost identical.

Obviously the "coat" icon was required.

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North Face in a 'Catch-22'.

The problem is that under the trademark laws, North Face must vigorously defend their trademark against all potential 'impostors' else face the loss of the their trademark.

IANAL, so I don't know if sending a nasty letter threatening a lawsuit and then getting the other party to say "No we're not infringing" is enough to satisfy as a 'defense' of their trademark.

Kinda of sucks to be NorthFace right now. BTW, I swear by their products. They work and NorthFace has a great repair policy.

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Anonymous Coward

Now that he's making profits...

An out and out rip. The kid better get his butt in gear before they ream him a new south col.

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FAIL

Wow

It's amazing how many authoritative lawyers there are in this thread!

For the clueless, the law of trade marks does not care at all about whether the mark in question is an 'obvious rip-off' of the North Face mark. The important question is whether the mark is intended to cause and actually does cause potential buyers to confuse it with the North Face product - i.e. whether anyone would buy a South Butt coat thinking they were getting a North Face one. On that standard - that is, the standard that actually applies to the freaking legal case, rather than comment threads full of idiots - it's a much less clear-cut argument, and he's probably right to take a shot at fighting it.

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butte would have been better

that is all

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Happy

This makes me smile.....

...in the same way that 'itsy bitsy machines' did a long time ago.

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Joke

To avoid logo confusion...

...His should have had two cheeks. Would have solved things easily. =)

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it's the logo, stupid

It's not the name that's a problem, it's the logo. Of course no one is going to be confused between "The North Face" and "The South Butt", but the kid used the same colors, same basic icon (flipped), and same basic font/text layout. That's what *could* be labeled as confusing, and the reason that TNF *has* to follow up to show that they're protecting their trademark. Oh, and responding to Aristotle, I grew up in Montana and live on the North Dakota/Minnesota border, where we care more about our winter gear performance than it's looks, and I've ALWAYS found TNF stuff to be way better than Columbia - IMHO.

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Coat

One word: parody.

If I recall correctly, Parody (which this is a clear cut case of) is protected in the US under the first amendment, and has been backed by case law quite a number of times.

And lawyers in the US have always had a fondness to drop the anvil on people at the slightest provocation. (I shall refer you to Attrition's amusing tangle with Mastercard's legal team as a prime example: http://attrition.org/news/mc/)

Mines the flame-proof suite with the sintered armor-gel joints.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow

I have to agree. There is no way that anyone could get all confused by the South Butt logo and go and buy the wrong product (thereby taking the food from the mouths of the North Face shareholders' children).

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Anonymous Coward

They Shouldn't

They should sue the kid... they should give him a job.

Then he might be, like, wow...

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FAIL

@Joel Bjorge

Have a look again its not the same logo flipped. It has a 2 lines in it. Not 3 at with TNF, his lines have a black outlining the TNF logo does not. He also fas a different font for his text, logo and text is the other way around. From a design point of view they are no where near the same. You can ask a layer about the law, ask a designer about design.

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More importantly

Where can we order some South Butt gear? I'd love some.

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