It didn’t take long to get a reply from Body Armor founder Lance Collins on some of the allegations in at trademark infringement suit filed against Body Armor by the folks at the athletic clothing company Under Armour, which we wrote about on Friday.
Note that Collins, who is an attorney, has been extremely nimble in the realm of beverage trademarks and rather outspoken on the topic when it comes to giving advice to future beverage entrepreneurs.
“Dear Jeff,” Lance writes. “I noted your story about the recent Under Armour litigation and write to set the record straight on a number of points.”
These points are pulled verbatim from the note sent to BevNET:
“Body Armor Nutrition owns a federal trademark registration for BODY ARMOR for energy and isotonic drinks with rights dating back to 2007 — a key fact conveniently omitted from Under Armour’s complaint. Our trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, published in the Official Gazette, and registered as a trademark in 2010. In the five years since we applied for this trademark, Under Armour never objected to our trademark, and for good reason: there are many uses of Armor-related marks that are used for a wide variety of products, and there is simply no likelihood that these marks or that ours will be confused with Under Armour and its brand of sports clothing and equipment. ”
“Another key fact is that, at the time that we filed for our trademark registration, Under Armour’s trademarks only covered clothing and sports-related equipment. It did not apply for a trademark for bottled water until 2008 (more than a year after our application) and did not apply for a trademark for energy drinks and isotonic beverages until 2009 (more than two years after we applied for our trademark for BODY ARMOR). If you look at the complaint carefully, you’ll see that the vast majority of its many cited trademarks were filed long after our application in February 2007.”
“A third key fact is that, contrary to the statement in the complaint, we have been selling Body Armor super drink beverages since 2010. In the 18 months since, we have never heard a single complaint of anyone being confused. That also is true for good reason: no one can confuse sweaty undergarments and healthy fruit drinks. Our team has built an innovative, delicious new product, sold in an eye-catching, distinctive package, and under a unique brand name.”
“When all the facts come out, it will be clear that our product does not infringe or dilute or otherwise violate any of Under Amour’s rights. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case in court and expose this case for what it really is: a classic example of a trademark bully trying to intimidate an innovative company from competing in the marketplace. We will not be bullied or intimidated; we will stand up for our rights; we will protect our five-year investment in the Body Armor brand; and we are fully confident that we will prevail in this meritless lawsuit.”
“Best regards,” he wrote in a note that was cc’d to EVP of sales John Kenneally and recent investor Mike Repole, “Lance Collins.”
It’s not hard to imagine the above reply serving as a skeletal outline of a meaty reply in court as well. Stay tuned.