Remember Jimmy Winkelmann, the cheeky 19-year-old Chaminade High School
grad whose North-Face-knockoff line of apparel -- The South Butt
-- drew threats of a legal action in August, followed by international media coverage
? Hilarious, yes?The North Face apparel corporation
isn't laughing. They filed suit
last Thursday in Missouri's federal Eastern District to get Winkelmann to stop infringing on their trademark and product rights.
"While [South Butt] may try to legitimize their piracy under the banner of parody," the complaint
reads, "their own conduct belies that claim."
Last August, when North Face found out that Winkelmann's tiny company
had tried to register its own South Butt trademark, the outdoor
clothing and gear giant threatened legal action. Winkelmann refused
to stop hawking his wares, and instead offered
to sell his company in September to The North Face for $1 million. Oh, the balls
couple weeks later, South Butt attempted yet again to register its
trademark, and a media blitz began. The publicity caused a surge in
sales for South Butt, and Winkelmann retracted his offer of sale.
North Face claims that South Butt's products are "causing confusion,
mistake and deception among the general purchasing public."
In a rebuttal, eternal quote machine Al Watkins, legal counsel for Winkelmann and his company, insists
that "The South Butt has previously made it clear to the North Face
that the consuming public is insightful enough to know the difference
between a face and a butt."
In fact, Jimmy Winkelmann himself is testing that very claim on Facebook
: Click here for the "Face or Butt Challenge" quiz
. (You need to be logged in, of course).
every sense," Watkins adds, "The South Butt is prepared to assume the
proverbial position and take everything that North Face thrusts at it,"