The North Face Sues Small Apparel Brand Over 'Imitation' Logo Featuring Drug-Dealing Reference
The North Face is suing a Raleigh-based T-shirt seller doing business as "The Trap Face" for trademark infringement.
One of the largest outdoor apparel and lifestyle companies currently operating, The North Face claims that The Trap Face owner Malik Grubbs “copied and infringed” on the North Face’s half dome logo.
Besides similarities in the font and colors, the biggest problem in the eyes of The North Face is that, in this instance, “trap” refers to the practice of selling illegal drugs, and the half dome logo is meant to look like a house.
Grubbs told the Triangle Business Journal that, despite the threat from such a big-name company, he’s not changing his logo, and that no one would confuse the two thanks to differing shades of red and the house versus half dome.
“And you you can’t copyright a font,” Grubbs added. “Really, honestly, this is a logo I made from scratch.”
That’s going to be a tough defense. The North Face is pretty certain that Grubbs’ design is a “deliberate and intentional imitation,” and that’s tough to argue. But, Grubbs plans to take this one to court.
Other outdoor apparel companies have taken similar steps to protect their logos and imagery from comedic depictions on other apparel, especially when it’s at the expense of their environmental identity. Patagonia, for example, sued a company for using its iconic mountain range design for a pro-oil design.
Grubbs’ case is currently in North Carolina Business Court. Grubbs does not currently have an attorney listed, according to the Triangle Business Journal.