Under Armour Takes Nike To Court - Not The Hoops Kind - Over Marketing Infringement

By Barry Janoff

February 22, 2013: Sportswear and shoe company Under Armour said it has filed a lawsuit against Nike, alleging that the company is illegally using Under Armour's slogan, "I Will," in marketing efforts.

The lawsuit was filed by Baltimore-based Under Armour Thursday (Feb. 21) in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Under Armour, founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, said it has used the phrase "I Will" in marketing since 1998 and that it has trademarked its use.

Under Armour's latest marketing campaign, release earlier this month, is, "I Will: Innovation."

Nike earned $25 billion last year compared with Under Armour's $1.8 billion, according to records filed by the respective companies.

"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 have initiated a lawsuit against Nike, Inc. based on its infringement of Under Armour's federally registered 'I Will' trademark."

According to Under Armour, Nike ads on social media platforms late last year used such phrases as, "I will finish what I started" and "I will sweat while they sleep."

One ad on Nike Basketball's Twitter page (pictured top of page) took a double swipe at Under Armour trademarked phrases, according to Under Armour: It shows two guys in Nike gear playing hoops along with the text, "I will protect my home court."

For years, Under Armour's primary mantra was "Protect this house," to which people would respond, "I will!"

"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," Under Armour said in its statement. "We will not allow a competitor to blatantly infringe upon our established trademark rights."

Nike has not yet publicly responded to the lawsuit.

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