Nike has prevailed in its FuelBand trademark dispute with South Carolina-based Fuel Clothing. In late May, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina dismissed Fuel Clothing Co., Inc.’s claims against sportswear giant, Nike, over the use of the “Fuel” mark.
At issue was the Nike FuelBand, a digital device that wearers can use to track exercise, intensity, movement, and other body metrics, and upload that data to mobile devices and computers to track the wearer’s fitness. Fuel Clothing, a maker of clothing for the action-sports market, argued that there was a likelihood of consumer confusion between the Nike FuelBand and its skateboard, athletic, and surfing clothing.
According to the Portland Business Journal, Fuel argued that Nike made an effort to trademark its FuelBand in a variety of trademark categories including “medical apparatus,” “jewelry,” and “electrical and scientific apparatus,” but according to the complaint, “conspicuously avoided [attempting to register the mark in] class 25 (apparel), in which Fuel Clothing’s ‘Fuel’ mark has been long registered…despite the fact that the bulk and core of Nike’s business is the sale of wearable sport apparel.”
The district court disagreed with Fuel, dismissing claims against Nike. Despite their success in South Carolina, Nike has been subject to a number of other lawsuits over the FuelBand, including a patent infringement suit by SportBrain. Recent reports from Nike indicate that it will discontinue selling the FuelBand products in the near future.
If you have trademark questions, including questions about competitors selling similar products, or you have received a cease and desist letter related to a competitor’s trademark or patent, you need a smart, experienced business litigation attorney to represent your interests. James J. “Jim” Thomas II has more than 35 years of experience advising Georgia businesses and handling complex business litigation including intellectual property matters. Jim can help you with the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation including in trademark and other intellectual property disputes. Visit www.litigationatlanta.com online, or give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 to set up a free consultation.