An interesting trade mark storm is brewing in the United States between the golf brand Titleist and the online retailer I Made Bogey which trades in a number of goods which parody the Titleist brand by using the trade mark Titties – in the famous Titleist font.

The classic trade mark infringement test involves an assessment of whether a consumer will be confused or deceived into thinking that goods emanate from Titleist. Another form of trade mark infringement is known as trade mark dilution which in South Africa protects well-known trade marks from another party taking unfair advantage or use that is detrimental to the distinctive character or repute of the registered trade mark. Importantly, this assessment does not require a likelihood of deception or confusion.

An excerpt from

“In the suit, Titleist claims both trademark infringement and dilution. For dilution to stick, it must show that I Made Bogey’s hats tarnish Titleist’s reputation or blur its fame. For trademark infringement, however, Titleist must show that consumers would be confused by the two logos. ‘They would have to show that people would think Titleist is making hats with the sexually explicit misspelling’, said Tobin, the attorney. And that would be pretty difficult, she said.”