The American edition of Sporting Goods Intelligence reports that The North Face recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a small St. Louis firm launched in 2007 by a 16-year old and named, The South Butt.
At issue is whether The South Butt, which parodies the outerwear brand in everything from its logo to its “Never Stop Relaxing” marketing message (vs. TNF’s “Never Stop Exploring”), is infringing on the trademark of The North Face.
According to reports, TNF’s threat of a lawsuit in October only served to accelerate sales of The South Butt merchandise and prompt its owner, Jimmy Winkelmann, now a college freshman at the University of Missouri at Columbia, to rescind his offer to sell the brand to VFC for $1 million.
The enterprising young man now even advertises on his website, saying “We are being sued!” With all due respect to TNF taking care of its intellectual property rights, we say: “Hey come on, it’s the holiday season! Let the guy take the money and run – or hire him. He seems to be creative and might bring good vibrations into the company.”