Brooks Sports Inc. is suing Brooks Brothers Group Inc. over alleged trademark infringement.
In court documents filed on Monday in the United States District Court in the Western District of Washington, sports apparel and footwear company Brooks Sports asked a judge to bar heritage clothier Brooks Brothers Group from using the “Brooks” moniker alone (without “Brothers”). Brooks Sports claimed that the name “Brooks” by itself is associated with its brand and sought to stop Brooks Brothers Group from using it on products to “prevent public confusion and dilution” of the name. Brooks Sports also sought damages for Brooks Brothers’ alleged unfair competition and breach of contract.
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“For more than 100 years, we’ve built a brand that consumers worldwide recognize and trust,” Brooks Sports CEO Jim Weber said in a statement. “We will aggressively protect our intellectual property and defend the investment that’s created our valuable brand.”
While Brooks Sports develops athletic-inspired performance shoes and clothing, Brooks Brothers designs ready-to-wear fashion. A trademark coexistence agreement — which allows two trademark owners to use similar marks with certain limitations — exists between the two companies, dating back to 1980.
On Dec. 30, Brooks Brothers applied for new trademarks to use the name “Brooks” alone on eight categories of products, including accessories such as duffel bags and sport bags as well as retail store services that would feature apparel, sports goods and athletic accessories. Brooks Sports contested the move, and the two parties, according to the suit, unsuccessfully attempted to resolve their dispute out of court.
Using the “Brooks” name, Brooks Sports wrote in the lawsuit filed yesterday, would “confuse the public, dilute the Brooks [Sports] marks, ride on Brooks [Sports]’ coattails for establishing its reputation in the area of activewear and athletic footwear and apparel, violate the parties’ coexistence agreement and damage [Brooks Sports].”
Brooks Sports is seeking injunctive and monetary relief.
FN has reached out to Brooks Brothers Group for comment.
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