|HANDS OFF (my armour)!!|
Thursday, 27 August 2015
This GreeKat learns from the Washington Post that US-based sports apparel company, Under Armour, has initiated trade mark infringement proceedings against Armor&Glory, a small company producing, in its own words, "inspirational apparel". At issue is use by Armor&Glory of, no surprise, the mark "Armor&Glory". It seems that Under Armour justifies its trade name and is quite vigilant in protecting its trade mark rights; it has entered into IP rows with Nike, adidas (as a defendant though) and Sketchers in the past.
But the factual background in this case is different, not only because of the (tiny) size of the defendant, but also because of the story behind the allegedly infringing mark. According to Armor&Glory's founder, Terrance Jackson, the idea behind the venture came in 2013 following his disappointing attempt to dress his then 3-year-old son with anything not including skulls and crossbones [a rather exaggerated statement this blogger thinks]. As for the name, "the full armor of God" cited in Ephesians 6:11 was Mr. Jackson's source of inspiration. He is quoted to say that “When God gave this [name] to me, I never thought once about those guys. We don’t even spell it like them.”[hmm, that does not sound like a sound trade mark defense].
Regardless of spelling, Armor&Glory's market impact appears minimal. According to the story, "it has so far made less than $100,000 in revenue since 2013 — about 0.003 percent of Under Armour’s sales just last year. The company’s online store sells $20 shorts and $25 shirts designed largely for a core Christian audience, with slogans like “Be spiritually attractive” and 'Put on God’s armor and receive His glory.'".
This may be why trade mark bullying psychology is put forth by Armor&Glory (and to a certain extent by the Washington Post's piece). The company has even started a crowd-funding campaign on its web page for expected legal costs.
Of course, trade mark bullying can be an easy "accusation" to mouth in David vs. Goliath cases. For better or worse, Under Armour owns several registered trade marks incorporating "Armour" and Armor&Glory is not the first "Armor"-related case they have gone after. IP lawyers also know well that vigilance in protecting trade marks and brand integrity usully leaves little room to cherry-pick battles. So is this vigilance or bullying?