Image: Canada Goose

Canada Goose is facing off against a similarly-named outerwear company that it claims is intentionally mimicking the “look and feel” of its products and logos. According to the lawsuit that it filed in a federal court in Illinois on June 30, Canada Goose claims that the like-named Goose Country is on the hook for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and false designation of origin, and unjust enrichment in connection with its continued sale of products that not only bear a similar brand name as Canada Goose but that make use of a lookalike design in furtherance of an attempt to confuse consumers and benefit from the reputation of – and demand for – Canada Goose products. 

Canada Goose sets the stage in the complaint that it filed late last month, asserting that it is “one of the world’s premier brands of apparel, and well known for its outerwear,” with its sales in the U.S., alone, exceeding $216 million in 2020. The brand contends that due to its consistent use of “numerous GOOSE trademarks in connection with the promotion and sale of [its] clothing and related products and services … in the United States since at least as early as 1994,” coupled with its “substantial promotional, advertising, publicity, and public relations activities,” the Canada Goose brand and its trademarks have become “well known, and consumers have come to know, rely upon, and recognize the GOOSE trademarks as identifying its branded products and retail stores.” 

At the same time, Canada Goose claims in the newly-filed lawsuit that its trademarks have “acquired substantial goodwill and are an extremely valuable commercial asset” as a result. 

Fast forward 24 years from when it first began using the Canada Goose marks to February 2018, and Canada Goose claims that despite having “constructive” and “actual knowledge” of Canada Goose’s various GOOSE trademarks, Goose Country began “advertising, promoting, selling, and offering for sale outwear under the marks GOOSE COUNTRY and ORIGINAL GOOSE COUNTRY,” and filed trademark applications for registration for the marks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  

Canada Goose jackets (left & center) and Goose Country (right)

In addition to using a confusingly similar name, Canada Goose claims that Goose Country has gone further and adopted a lookalike design for its outwear, namely by adorning its jackets with “a circular patch with a red perimeter … on the shoulder of a jacket or coat,” which Canada Goose argues “mimics” its long-held practice of featuring a “unique circular patch with a red perimeter” in the same position.  Such obvious “mimicry of the look and feel of Canada Goose’s products and logos underscores the willful nature of Goose Country’s infringement of Canada Goose’s Goose marks,” the plaintiff argues. 

To make matters worse, Canada Goose claims that Goose Country’s products “compete directly with the outerwear garments [it] offers” for a number of reasons. Primarily, Canada Goose alleges that the two parties operate in the same market. In addition to both companies offering up their wares nationwide via the internet, “Goose Country’s New York retail shop is less than one mile from Canada Goose’s retail shop in SoHo, and Goose Country’s Illinois retail shop is just over fifteen miles from Canada Goose’s retail shop on Michigan Avenue,” per Canada Goose. 

Beyond that, Canada Goose states that “the goods sold under the parties’ respective marks also are sold at nearly identical price points.” For example, it asserts that “a typical jacket by Canada Goose bearing its GOOSE marks retails at $995.00, while a jacket featuring a similar look and feel sold by Goose Country under the GOOSE COUNTRY marks retails at $949.00,” with the famed outerwear making arguing that the notable similarity in price “indicates the parties’ respective products target the same category of consumer.” 

Against that background, and given that “Goose Country’s continued use of the GOOSE COUNTRY marks, and derivatives of those marks, is with full knowledge of the prior ownership by Canada Goose of the GOOSE marks, [and] of Canada Goose’s rights to use and control the use of such marks,” Canada Goose claims that “Goose Country is being unjustly enriched at [its] expense.”  

While Canada Goose alleges that it “has been corresponding with Goose Country since at least as early as December of 2018” regarding its rights in its GOOSE marks and Goose Country’s “unlawful use of the GOOSE COUNTRY marks,” Goose Country continues to use the allegedly infringing marks in connection with the promotion and sale of its “competing outerwear products.” In the process, Canada Goose claims that Goose Country “has traded upon and threatens to further trade upon the significant and valuable goodwill in Canada Goose’s Goose marks; is likely to cause public confusion as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of Goose Country’s products or services; and has damaged and threatens to further damage Canada Goose’s significant and valuable goodwill in Canada Goose’s GOOSE marks.”

And still yet, Canada Goose argues that Goose Country “has injured and threatens to further injure [its] right to use [the] GOOSE marks as the exclusive indicia of origin of [its] goods and services; and has lessened the capacity of Canada Goose’s marks to indicate that its products and services are sponsored by Canada Goose.” 

With the foregoing in mind, Canada Goose sets out claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, and trademark dilution in connection with Goose Country’s use of its word marks and trademark-protected patch. (Canada Goose does not claim rights in the specific placement of the patch on the shoulder of a jacket or coat.) In addition to monetary damages and injunctive relief in order to permanently bar the defendants from running afoul of its rights in the trademarks at issue, Canada Goose also wants the court to order Goose Country to transfer ownership of its domain name, as well “as any other domain name that incorporates the GOOSE COUNTRY marks and any other mark that is confusingly similar to or derived from the GOOSE COUNTRY marks, to Canada Goose.”

The case is Canada Goose, Inc. v. Goose Country, LLC, 1:21-cv-03516 (N.D.Ill.)