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Under Armour settles suit against Body Armor

Under Armour Inc. has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against a California-based sports beverage maker it alleged used variations of Under Armour’s, name, logo and “Protect this house” tagline to sell its products.

Under Armour and Body Armor Nutrition LLC reached the settlement Dec. 20, agreeing to dismiss all claims and counterclaims with prejudice, according to court documents.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, according to David H. Bernstein, the New York-based lead attorney for Body Armor Nutrition, of Beverly Hills.

“We settled the dispute on mutually satisfactory terms,” Bernstein said Thursday.

Judge James K. Bredar closed the case Tuesday, according to online records for the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Body Armor

According to an article in a trade publication, Body Armor changed its packaging this year, creating ‘a shield of armor on top of vivid fruit photography.’

Body Armor, which launched in 2011, offers what it describes as a “revolutionary, category-creating line of nutrient-enhanced juice beverages,” according to court filings. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is among the company’s professional-athlete spokesmen, according to Body Armor’s website.

The company, in an answer to Under Armour’s lawsuit, listed dozens of other companies with either “Armor” or “Armour” in their names. Body Armor’s logo does not have interlocking aspects but was a “stickman graphic, designed to visually communicate the protective armor” its nutrients provide, Body Armor wrote in response to the lawsuit.

Under Armour’s lawsuit, filed in April 2012, also alleged Body Armor used the slogan “Protect + Restore” to promote its drink, which is similar to Under Armour’s “Protect this house.”

“Taken individually or collectively, Defendant’s Body Armor mark, Interlocking Logo, and Protect + Restore tagline are likely to cause consumers to mistakenly believe that Defendant’s beverages come from Under Armour or are otherwise associated or connected with Under Armour,” an amended complaint states.

Body Armor, in its answer to the complaint, said it changed its tagline before Under Armour filed suit, adding it did not believe the two tag lines would cause any confusion.

The company also claimed it filed for its trademark more than six years ago and that Under Armour had not raised any objections before suing, even though Under Armour was aware of Body Armor since at least 2009, when the drink was in development by the Beverly Hills-based company.

“This lawsuit is a prime example of trademark bullying by a corporate giant seeking to stifle an innovative startup company …” Body Armor stated. “In spite of UA’s efforts to manufacture evidence of confusion, it is impossible that consumers or retailers of either brand would confuse the two.”

According to the U.S. District Court’s online filing system, Baltimore-based Under Armour has filed five trademark-infringement suits in Maryland’s federal court since 2011. Only one, against Nike Inc., remains open.

Douglas A. Rettew, the Washington, D.C.-based lead lawyer for Under Armour, did not return a call seeking comment.

The lawsuit settled last week sought to enjoin Body Armor from using its name, logo and tagline. It also sought control of Body Armor’s domain name, drinkbodyarmor.com, which Under Armour called “confusingly similar to and/or dilutive” of Under Armour’s trademarks.

Body Armor, in turn, filed a counterclaim seeking to cancel several of Under Armour’s trademarks because Under Armour was not using them with bottled water when it applied for the trademarks in 2008, even though the company said it had been using them since 2005.

“Drinkbodyarmor.com” and the company’s sports drinks remained online Thursday. According to an article in trade publication Beverage Industry, Body Armor changed its packaging at the beginning of 2013. “The brand removed the legs from its ‘stickman’-shaped stripes to create lines that make a shield of armor on top of vivid fruit photography,” the Jan. 11 article said. The article did not mention Under Armour’s lawsuit.

 

UNDER ARMOUR INC. V. BODY ARMOR NUTRITION LLC

Court:

U.S. District Court, Baltimore

Case No.:

1:12-cv-01283-JKB

Judge:

James K. Bredar

Outcome:

Confidential settlement before trial

Dates:

Event: 2011 through the present

Suit filed: April 26, 2012

Settlement order filed: Dec. 24, 2013

Plaintiff’s Attorney:

Douglas A. Rettew of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett and Dunner LLP in Washington, D.C.

Defendant’s Attorney:

David H. Bernstein of Debevoise and Plimpton LLC in New York

Counts:

Trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, fraudulent use, unfair competition