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Under Armour sues Energy Armor for infringement, cybersquatting

Under Armour Inc. is suing Energy Armor, a Florida company that makes silicone bracelets imbued with “negative ions,” accusing it of trademark infringement and cybersquatting.

Baltimore-based Under Armour filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, claiming that Energy Armor was selling sporting apparel like bracelets, hair bands and baseball caps that imitate Under Armour products. The Jacksonville company’s tagline — “Protect Your Body” — is also too similar to Under Armour’s “Protect This House” motto, Under Armour alleges.

Under Armour is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction to keep its competitor from using the Energy Armor name and “Protect Your Body” tagline on its products.

Under Armour also claims that Energy Armor has been cybersquatting by diverting Internet users looking for Under Armour products.

Cybersquatting — the practice of registering or using a domain name that’s the same or similar to a registered trademark — is banned by federal law when it is done in bad faith, in an effort to profit from the trademark owner’s goodwill.

In one example given in the lawsuit, a Google search for “Under Armour Friendship Bracelet” turns up a link to “energyarmorbracelets.com/under-armour-friendship-bracelet-pattern-2/,” which takes users to Energy Armor’s About Us page.

A call to Energy Armor on Monday for comment was not returned.

According to Energy Armor literature, the company uses volcanic ash in its product as a source of negative ions. While Energy Armor’s website shies away from saying there is a direct link between negative ions and health, it does say some studies have suggested it, and there is anecdotal evidence as well.

“When a bolt of lightning slices through the air or a wave crashes on the shore, it creates Negative Ions. Volcanoes and waterfalls create Negative Ions as well,” the company’s website reads. “As the water is falling, it loses an electron, creating that fresh air smell filled with Negative Ions. Negative Ions have been helping mankind feel better since the beginning of time!”

Energy Armor’s products range from $14.95 sleep masks to a $59.95 stainless steel bracelet. The company sells products online and at mall kiosks across the country.

It is not the first trademark infringement case against Energy Armor. In August, software maker Electronic Arts Inc. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against Energy Armor claiming the Jacksonville company’s “EA” logo was “confusingly similar” to theirs.

This is the third trademark-related lawsuit filed in federal court in Baltimore this year by Under Armour, which is famously protective of its brand and image.

In September, the lawsuit against Armorline Marketing International Inc., of Langley, British Columbia, was dismissed as part of a confidential settlement. The second action ended in August when the judge enjoined North Carolina-based Purple Armour from using that name.