Clothing brands are serious about their trademarks and product out on these streets these days. The North Face learned firsthand that street artist Futura isn’t afraid to flex his legal muscles on anyone looking to eat off what he’s cooked up.
According to HIGHSNOBIETY, The North Face got hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit by the street artist that claims that TNF juxed his popular logo and confused many customers into thinking the two brands were collaborating on a new collection.
“The lawsuit filed back in January pertains to The North Face’s use of a logo that looks very similar to the graffiti artist’s “atom” design. According to Futura, the collection in question also implied an association with him due to its misleading name: FUTURELIGHT.”
However, the judge overseeing the case granted The North Face their motion to dismiss the lawsuit stating that Futura’s logo was “purely artwork” and “does not function as a source identifier.” In other words, it doesn’t qualify as a trademark. Ultimately California Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, felt that the “[b]asic geometric shapes, basic letters, and single colors are not protectable as inherently distinctive.”
Now, Futura decided to weigh in on the decision and in a lengthy IG post explained his stance on how things went, and how it can affect the artists of tomorrow.
“in a recent court filing they reduced my entire career to a ‘.. self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his artwork…’ they also claim that because I sometimes paint different versions of my atom I have no legal IP protections or rights. if they succeeded with that argument many of us could no longer have protection for our artistic reinterpretations of our logo or brands, which is a foundational element of streetwear.”
He’s right. This ruling can have a devastating effect on up-and-coming street brand artists who can come up with a helluva idea only to see a more established company eat off of it with no accountability.
Still, Futura will continue to fight the good fight and hopefully take home that W for the streetwear culture. Luckily he’s not relying on the SNKRS app for that dub though. Just sayin.
Read the full statement below and let us know your thoughts on this case.
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