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Clothing Wars 

Apparel giant Under Armour sends a cease and desist to local business

Under Armour, the third-largest sports brand in the U.S., sent a cease and desist order to Bend’s Cascade Armory Oct. 24, claiming Cascade Armory is creating brand confusion and that Under Armour is suffering from it.

In its cease and desist letter to Cascade Armory’s attorney, Leigh Gill of Portland’s Immix Law Group, Under Armour wrote, “Your client’s use and application of Cascade Armory constitutes trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and/or unfair completion under federal law and various state laws.”

click to enlarge Cascade Armory's Alex Short stands next to his clothing line at Skjersaa's in Bend. - CHRIS MILLER
  • Chris Miller
  • Cascade Armory's Alex Short stands next to his clothing line at Skjersaa's in Bend.

Alex Short started Cascade Armory with his wife, Diana, about five months ago. On the day the trademark was to be approved, Short said Under Armour purchased a window to oppose the trademark—basically allowing for a longer time period for businesses to oppose the trademark. Short said no one from UA contacted him, but when he called to discuss how he could avoid litigation, he said UA put six attorneys on the phone at the same time, and in essence told him to change his name and start over.

"It's going to cost $10,000 just to get to court," Short said. "It could end up costing us a fortune."

Cascade Armory designs and sells casual clothes including hoodies, flannel shirts, hats and scarves in stores around Bend and online. Under Armour has high profile athletes, including Jordan Speith and Steph Curry, and sells athletic clothes and equipment—from shoes to compression long underwear and lacrosse sticks. Cascade Armory’s logo is an elk with the words, “Bend Oregon” printed on the side and “Peaks to Streets” written below. Under Armour’s logo is a U and an A twisted together.

In the cease and desist order, Under Armour demanded that Cascade Armory abandon with prejudice its application for trademark and any other applications and registrations for marks comprised of or containing the term armory, armoury, armor, armour or any misspellings or variations thereof. The company demanded Cascade Armory permanently quit using, registering or applying to register the Cascade Armory mark and any versions containing the same versions of 'armory' or 'armor.' Also, they demanded that Cascade Armory deactivate its website and social media pages that contain the same words.

This is not the first time Under Armour—which took in revenue of nearly $5 billion last year, according to its 2017 annual report—has tangled with other companies with the word armor in its name.

In 2015, they took on a Maryland Bible-quoting football champ named Terrance Jackson, according to a story in the Washington Post. Jackson, who was upset that most of the clothing options for his 3-year-old son were covered in skulls and crossbones, decided to start his own “inspirational” apparel company with a scripture-inspired name, Armor & Glory.

Under Armour filed a lawsuit stating, “Armor & Glory’s name is likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception as to the two companies’ connection, which would dilute the distinctiveness and further damage and irreparably injure Under Armour’s brand.” Under Armour’s attorneys wrote that Armor & Glory should have to destroy all products, hand over its domain name and any profits, and pay Under Armour’s attorney fees and damages of $100,000 or more, according to the story in the Post. Jackson since changed the company’s name to AG365 and is still selling faith-based apparel.

The Post story said over the years, Under Armour has sued other small companies that use the word armor, or variations of, in their names. Salt Armour, a Florida fishing-apparel firm, Ass Armor, a maker of shock-absorbing snowboarding shorts and Bodyarmor Superdrink, a sports-drink company who vowed to fight back all were sued by the apparel giant.

According to Mandour & Associates, a Southern California-based intellectual property law firm, Bodyarmor SuperDrink Chairman Michael Repole said his company has the resources and expertise to fight Under Armour to the fullest extent possible and hopes that Bodyarmor can, “set a positive example for small companies that are harassed by larger companies hoping to bully competitors into submission.”

Under Armour did respond not to our requests for comment.

“I want them to be exposed,” Short said. “I don’t think it’s right what they’re doing to us. We’re a family business—my wife and I run the whole thing.”
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