5 May 2017Trademarks

Christmas jumper designers clash in trademark case

It may only be May, but two Christmas-themed apparel companies have gone head-to-head in a lawsuit.

Tipsy Elves has taken on rival Ugly Christmas Sweater (UCS) over a Google advert sponsored by UCS which allegedly featured the ‘Tipsy Elves’ trademark.

In a claim filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of California on Tuesday, May 2, Tipsy Elves said that in December 2016, UCS used Google AdWords to place ‘Tipsy Elves’ as the top and first two words of copy in an advert linked to its website.

“Defendants thus not only used the ‘Tipsy Elves’ mark, but also featured it in blue letters above everything else in the advertisement at a much larger size than most of the other advertising copy,” said the claim.

This meant that when ‘Tipsy Elves’ was searched for, a link to the UCS website allegedly appeared in the adverts on the search.

“Defendants employed the keyword ‘tipsy elves’ within Google AdWords in order to ensure that the advertisement featuring the mark appeared alongside legitimate advertisements and links to the Tipsy Elves website,” it added.

Tipsy Elves argued that this gave the public the false impression that clicking on the associated links would take them to the Tipsy Elves website.

This is the second time that the two Christmas-themed clothing companies have clashed.

In 2012, an out of court settlement was reached after UCS was issued with a cease-and-desist letter to stop infringing Tipsy Elves’ copyright in its sweater designs, according to the suit.

Tipsy Elves is seeking profits, destruction of infringing material, a preliminary injunction and a jury trial.

Join us for a  FREE webinar - The Halo effect: walking the wilfulness tightrope - on May 16

Today’s top stories

WTO upholds Australia’s plain packaging restrictions

Street artist takes on British Airways in mural copyright dispute

‘Kung Fu Panda’ copyright suit ends with two-year prison term

Fraser Clemens merges with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick

Michelman & Robinson adds partner in New York

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at