Under Armour is not happy with Nike right about now. The point of contention is over the phrase “I Will,” which Under Armour trademarked back in 2000 and has used in many ad campaigns, including one launched last week, its largest in history.
Nike, famous for its “Just Do It” tagline, has been using the phrase “I will” in its ads a little too much recently for Under Armour’s liking. So, a trademark suit was filed Thursday to stop Nike from using “any form of that phrase” as well as to turn over “unspecified punitive damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
The ads, which Nike placed on Facebook and Twitter late last year, use “I will” to begin sentences such as “I will finish what I started” laid over an image of a basketball player dunking. Over an image of runners, Nike placed the text “I will sweat while they sleep.” Another ad that Under Armour is surely seething about is one for Nike’s #makeitcount campaign, which gives a laundry list of what different athletes will do in 2013, ending with “We Will #makeitcount.” [more]
“The I WILL trademark is one of the cornerstone symbols of our company and its products and services, and has been for many years,” Under Armour said in a statement. “We prefer to battle our competitors in the marketplace and on the field of play with our game-changing innovative products, but we will defend ourselves whenever necessary to protect what we’ve worked so hard to build. We will not allow a competitor to blatantly infringe upon our established trademark rights.”
That’s not the only thing Nike has done recently that has the knickers of Under Armor’s lawyers in a twist. They contend that Nike, which had revenue of $25 billion last year while Under Armour brought in $1.8 billion, is “trying to cause consumer confusion by using language that approximates the iconic ‘Protect this house’ campaign that helped propel founder Kevin Plank’s company into the mainstream,” the Sun reports, with a basketball ad that uses the text “I will protect my home court.”
The is the first time that this David is taking Nike’s Goliath to court, though the tables were turned back in 2003, when Nike sued Under Armour because it thought the company was infringing on its Dri-Fit moisture-wicking trademark. That case was dismissed.