In a complaint filed in in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland Baltimore Division, Under Armour has sued competitor Nike for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition for its use of the phrase “I Will.”
Defendant—a direct and major competitor—has launched an advertising campaign for its performance apparel, footwear, accessories, sporting goods, and related services that appropriates “I WILL” prominently, repeatedly, and in a format and context that imitates Under Armour’s longstanding use of its iconic I WILL trademark/tagline for these same types of products and services.
The complaint claims Armour’s rights in the I WILL mark date back to at least as early as 1998, though a trademark search indicates considerable 2012 filing activity, carving out different product groupings.
The I WILL mark has been featured in connection with hundreds of products, by either appearing in product names and/or on products themselves; product packaging; product labels; or product stickers. The I WILL mark has also appeared on gift cards, on and in retail stores and displays, and in advertising and other materials, such as billboards, stadium signage and displays, Internet banner ads, and the homepage of Under Armour’s website at ua.com.
Forbes reports the suit is a new competitive strategy for Under Armour in its battles with Nike, and it will be interesting to watch a $1.8B company square up against a $28B company.