ST. LOUIS (CN) – North Face Apparel does not find a college student’s parody of its clothing line funny. It claims James Winkelmann violated trademark by creating “South Butt” clothing, whose slogan, “Never Stop Relaxing,” is confusingly similar to North Face’s “Never Stop Exploring.” But South Butt’s attorney suggested that “North Face should consider embracing its parent company’s stated commitment to ‘consideration and respect,’ applaud the spirit and diligence of this young man, adopt some corporate anger management protocol, and save some money on unnecessary legal fees”.
North Face sued Winkelmann, his company The South Butt, and Williams Pharmacy in Federal Court.
Winkelmann, a freshman at the University of Missouri, sells South Butt clothes through Williams, which operates four St. Louis-area pharmacies.
Winkelmann’s attorney, Albert Watkins, issued a statement to the media in September, outlining North Face’s attempts to halt South Butt production. Watkins said his client had offered to sell South Butt to North Face for $1 million.
But North Face claims that the $1 million offer was rescinded after South Butt sales picked up.
North Face says South Butt claims to have cracked the $100,000 sales mark in November alone.
It wants Winkelmann prohibited from using the South Butt name, and its confusingly similar logo.
North Face is represented by David Roodman with Bryan Cave.
Winkelmann’s attorney Watkins seems undaunted by the lawsuit.
“The South Butt is excited and full of holiday glee in anticipation of addressing this matter in a public forum and will continue to vigorously market and meet the needs of the growing demand for its products,” Watkins said in a statement.
“The company employs a handful of individuals, including a severely disabled uncle of Jimmy Winkelmann. Perhaps North Face should consider embracing its parent company’s stated commitment to ‘consideration and respect,’ applaud the spirit and diligence of this young man, adopt some corporate anger management protocol, and save some money on unnecessary legal fees in the process.”