24 November 2022TrademarksStaff Writer

Patagonia sues retailer for ‘copying’ decades-old design

Eco brand sold pocket design for more than 30 years | Patagonia claims ‘copy’ was designed as though it was in collaboration with global retailer | Customer review allegedly called it an "obvious Patagonia ripoff".

Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia has accused Gap of copying a snapped flap pocket on its Snap-T design pullover fleece design that Patagonia has sold for more than three decades.

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, November 22, at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Patagonia claimed that Gap had wilfully and deliberately sold fleece jackets that copy Patagonia’s snapped flap pocket and rectangular ‘P-6’ logo.

The suit said: “The Gap infringements mimic all elements of the Snap-T trade dress and use a rectangular logo that, particularly in the context of the infringing trade dress, is likely to cause confusion among consumers about the source of the products or whether they are the result of a sponsorship by or collaboration with Patagonia.”

Patagonia claimed that Gap’s copies were “designed to make it appear as though Patagonia is the source of Gap’s products or has collaborated with Gap or authorised use of its trademark and trade dress”.

The suit also contains an image of a one-start review of Gap’s goods. It states: “Obvious Patagonia ripoff. I had to zoom in just to ensure that the logo was GAP. This is wild, why are you copying other brands, you have your own lane.”

According to Patagonia, not all customers will “zoom in” and, even if they do look closer, consumers are likely to believe this is one of Gap’s collaborations.

The outdoor clothing retailer also said that it had warned Gap a few years before to stop copying its products, trade dress and logos, including designs that infringed the Snap-T trade dress.

“Its adoption of designs and logos bearing even more similarity cannot have occurred by accident,” added the suit.

The allegedly infringing goods are likely to cause “incalculable and irreparable damage” to Patagonia’s goodwill, dilute Patagonia’s trademark, create confusion among consumers and cause "irreparable damage” to Patagonia’s licensing and collaboration programmes, said the claim.

Patagonia has asked the court for injunctive relief and to prohibit Gap from applying to register any trademark which is likely to be confused with, or that dilutes the Patagonia trademarks.

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