Under Armour made headlines on Monday for reportedly tapping rapper A$AP Rocky for an impending collaboration – but also for being slapped with a trade dress and design patent infringement lawsuit courtesy of Lululemon. According to the suit, which was filed late last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Under Armour has made use of two of Lululemon’s legally-protected bra designs and Lululemon isn’t having it.
Vancouver-based Lululemon – which sued Calvin Klein in 2012 for design patent infringement –alleges that Under Armour’s Eclipse Low Impact, Shape Low Impact, On the Move and Printed Strappy style bras infringe its Free to Be, and Energy styles, among others. The self-described yoga-inspired athletic apparel company and a designer and retailer of technical athletic apparel has held federal design patent protection for the “ornamental design for [the] bra[s]” since 2014, namely the interwoven segments of fabric that adorn the back of the bras.
“An ordinary observer will perceive the overall appearance of the designs of the infringing products to be substantially the same as the overall appearance of the designs of the patent-in-suit, per Lululemon’s complaint.
In addition to claiming design patent protection, Lululemon cites trade dress protection for the bra tops. A type of trademark law, trade dress protection extends to the configuration (design and shape) of a product itself, including “the total image of a product,” and it “features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics or even particular sales techniques.”
In its complaint, Lululemon claims, “The infringing products are so similar in design to the trade dress that they are likely to cause confusion, mistake, and deception as to the source of origin of the infringing goods among consumers.”
Lululemon is seeking injunctive relief, which would force Under Armour to immediately and permanently cease all sales of the allegedly infringing bras. It also wants an array of damages, including profits that Under Armour gained from selling the bras at issue.
As for Rocky, the rapper is most likely to provide creative input on its Under Armour’s Under Armour Sportswear (a.k.a. UAS) line – for which Tim Coppens is the creative director – and additional lifestyle products. While the news is currently unconfirmed by Under Armour, a number of its high level employees have retweeted reports of the collab.
* The case is Lululemon Athletica Canada et al v. Under Armour,Inc., 1:17-cv-00915 (D. Del.).