As Patagonia Continues to Win Over Fashion Fans, its Trademark is Proving Attractive, As Well

Patagonia-inspired fleece jackets have been popping up on runways over the past several years, as high fashion brands putt their spin on the tried-and-true appeal of one of the Southern California-based sportswear brand’s staple garments. As Emilia Petrarca wrote for The Cut last year, “Everyone seems to have a boner right now for Patagonia.” Beyond Patagonia’s cult fleece jackets, some brands are looking to trade on the seemingly ever-rising relevance of the outdoors brand – and its logo – thereby, giving way to litigation.  

Over a year after Patagonia took on an individual seeking to register a trademark for “Ganjagonia” and after having sued over marks, including Fratagonia and Patagucci, the company has filed suit against Tradition, a Los Angeles-based streetwear brand that has been making use of Patagonia’s Fitz Roy logo trademark.

According to the complaint that Patagonia filed last week in a California federal court, Tradition is “sell[ing] shirts … and other items that copy Patagonia’s Fitz Roy logo trademark” – you know, the one that Patagonia has been using since 1973 and that features the brand’s name on “a multi-colored label inspired by a silhouette of the jagged peaks of the Mt. Fitz Roy skyline framed by a stormy sky.”

a Patagonia tee (left) & Tradition’s version (right)

a Patagonia tee (left) & Tradition’s version (right)

Patagonia alleges that “Tradition has substituted [its name] (using identical font to the belwe font used by Patagonia when displaying the ‘PATAGONIA’ trademark) where the ‘PATAGONIA’ trademark traditionally appears, but is otherwise identical and copies the silhouette and unevenly striped sky and coloring used in the Fitz Roy logo.”

To “make matters worse,” Patagonia claims, “Tradition marketed [its] T-shirts in such a way as to enhance a consumer’s likely belief that the product originated with or was sponsored by Patagonia.” The brand goes on to state, “If a consumer searched for ‘Patagonia’ products on Tradition’s retail website, the infringing product was returned as a search result.”

“There is no explanation, except deliberate copying for the similarity of the Tradition Designs to the PATAGONIA trademarks and registered copyright,” Patagonia asserts.

Despite its repeated demands that Tradition stop manufacturing and selling the allegedly infringing shirts, “Tradition has failed to respond to [its] demand or requests for information,” and as a result, Patagonia says that filing suit is “necessary to stop Tradition from misappropriating” its rights.

A representative for Tradition to not respond to a request for comment.

* The case is Patagonia, Inc. v. Tradition LLC, 2:18-cv-07972 (C.D.Cal).