Following its recent success in the Livestrong v. Kidstrong trademark opposition (Symbus Blog, February 19, 2013), Symbus has taken on another trademark bullying case, this one involving a trademark opposition filed by athletic clothing giant Under Armour against Symbus client Life Armour. The Under Armour v. Life Armour case is the most recent in a string of trademark bullying cases handled by Symbus—an area of law in which Symbus is developing substantial experience.
Under Armour opposed Life Armour’s application for the trademark LIFE ARMOUR, alleging that the mark violates its rights in the UNDER ARMOUR mark. The opposition is a classic example of trademark bullying given that the LIFE ARMOUR mark covers “rubber or silicon wristbands in the nature of a bracelet with a religious theme to represent events in the life of Jesus Christ”—products that clearly have nothing to do with Under Armour’s sports related products. Stripped of the legal verbiage contained in the complaint, which included nearly 600 pages of exhibits, Under Armour appears to be claiming that all marks containing the word ARMOUR, including marks identifying religious themed products, are confusingly similar to or dilute its UNDER ARMOUR mark, despite the fact that the LIFE ARMOUR mark is a clear reference to a Biblical passage.
Life Armour recently filed its answer, alleging that Under Armour’s claims should be dismissed because it has engaged in an “ongoing and systematic pattern of trademark misuse” by attempting to improperly extend the scope of its trademark rights against numerous third parties. The answer further alleges that the opposition should be dismissed on grounds of “unclean hands’ because Under Armour is seeking to assert exclusive rights in the word “ARMOUR” against Applicant and numerous third parties, “which it knows, or has reason to know, is an improper assertion under trademark law.”
According to Life Armour’s counsel, Janice Housey, “The opposition is another example of how large companies like Under Armour skew the litigation process in their favor by trying to make it too expensive for small companies like Life Armour to defend themselves.”
We will continue to report on developments in this opposition and other efforts by the Symbus team to address the trademark bullying problem.