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Under Armour suing NC apparel company over trademark dispute

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A North Carolina company reached out to Stephen Curry and Under Armour to inform them his marketing slogan ‘I Can Do All Things,’ infringed on its trademark, according to a federal lawsuit. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Under Armour has a message for a North Carolina company claiming the Baltimore-based apparel giant cannot use certain phrases to market products: It Can. And It Will.

Under Amrour is seeking a declaratory judgment against Battle Fashions Inc., which has accused Under Armour of trademark infringement over its “I Can Do All Things” and “I Can. I Will.” ad campaigns.

Battle Fashions has repeatedly threatened to take legal action against Under Armour to protect its trademark “ICAN,” according to Under Armour’s lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Battle Fashions claims it has had a valid trademark for “ICAN” for 20 years.

“We have valid trademark rights and are prepared to defend them,” said Victor Jih, a Los Angeles lawyer representing the defendants.

Under Armour uses the slogan “I Can Do All Things,” as part of its product line with NBA star Stephen Curry, one of the brand’s most high-profile endorsers. The slogan is derived from Curry’s favorite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” the lawsuit states.

Under Armour also uses “I Can. I Will.” in products, including apparel, describing it in the lawsuit as a “well-known and commonly used inspirational phrase.”

Battle Fashions contacted Curry and his agent, as well as Under Armour’s ad agency to inform them that the brand was infringing on the ICAN trademark.

“We reached out to all of the parties involved to make sure they know about their trademark rights,” Jih said, adding that Under Armour has tried to ignore his client’s trademark rights for a long time.

“(The lawsuit) indicates that they’re taking our claims seriously now, rather than ignoring them,” he added.

Under Armour says it wants declaratory judgment to “clarify” its legal rights and to get “relief from the uncertainty, insecurity, and controversy giving rise to this proceeding,” according to the lawsuit.

An Under Armour spokeswoman said the company “values the intellectual property rights of others” and called Battle Fashions’ allegations “unfounded.”

Under Armour is no stranger to trademark disputes, having been on both sides of the fight.

In 2015, Under Armour sued a small clothing company called Armor & Glory for trademark infringement. The creator of that brand asserted a similar defense as the one Under Armour is using in the Battle Fashions case, that the name was inspired by a phrase in the Bible, The Washington Post reported.

Over the years, Under Armour has sued several companies with the word “Armour” or “Armor” in their names, including Body Armor, a sports-drink company; Salt Armour, a fishing-apparel firm; and Ass Armor, maker of shock-absorbing snowboarding shorts, the Post reported.

Under Armour also sued rival Nike over its “I will sweat while they sleep” social media campaign, saying it copied the Baltimore company’s slogan, “I Will What I Want.” That suit was settled under undisclosed terms.

On the flip side, in 2014, Adidas sued Under Armour over fitness technology patents that powered mobile apps tracking athletes’ performances during workouts.

The case is Under Armour, Inc. v. Battle Fashions, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-03223-RDB.

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