Under Armour, Inc. agreed to a stipulated order permanently enjoining it from placing its logo on Rawlings' batting helmets in any advertising and promotional materials. Rawlings Sporting Goods Company sued Under Armour, alleging that several of its advertisements depicted individuals wearing CoolFlo helmets bearing the Under Armour logo. Rawlings alleged that use of its helmet in Under Armour's advertising 1) implies an endorsement or association between Under Armor and Rawlings, 2) indicates that the helmets originated from Under Armour and/or 3) infringes upon the CoolFlo trademark and trade dress. Rawlings further alleged that the helmet has a distinctive shape and features which allowed consumers to identify the CoolFlo helmet as a Rawlings product.
TIP: Companies should avoid re-branding distinctive products in advertising with their own name and logo. Absent permission from the manufacturer of the product, companies should ensure that all of the products used in advertising are generic, including in color, shape and features. Removal of a logo or company name may not be enough to avoid a complaint if a product is still identifiable.