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Defendants in Under Armour trademark lawsuit challenge jurisdiction

A North Carolina-based apparel company being sued by Under Armour in a trademark dispute has asked a Maryland judge to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Battle Fashions Inc. and owner Kelsey Battle previously have accused Under Armour of trademark infringement over the Baltimore apparel giant’s “I Can Do All Things” and “I Can. I Will.” ad campaigns. Battle Fashions has claimed it has had a valid trademark for “ICAN” for 20 years.

In a court filing last week, the defendants argued the U.S. District Court in Maryland does not have jurisdiction over Battle Fashions or Battle himself because the company has not conducted any business since 2010, when Battle Fashions was dissolved.

Under Armour should not be suing Battle Fashions at all, according to the motion to dismiss, because Battle himself holds the “ICAN” trademark. Battle is a North Carolina resident and has never lived in Maryland, owned property, hired an employee or attended a trade show in the state, according to court filings.

“The only meaningful connection to Maryland is the fact that Under Armour, a Maryland corporation, chose to infringe his ICAN mark,” the defense filing states.

The defendants also accuse Under Armour of “forum shopping,” saying the company had agreed to settlement talks and then filed suit “without any warning.”

An Under Armour spokeswoman declined to comment on pending litigation.

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.

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.

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 its lawsuit.

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

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