Tuesday, September 29, 2009

North Face Sues Missouri Teen Over His "South Butt" Apparel Line

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Jimmy Winkelmann
  • Jimmy Winkelmann
Meet Jimmy Winkelmann. Or as his lawyer affectionately refers to his client: "Little Jimmy."

At the tender age of 18, the St. Louis native and University of Missouri freshman apparently has caught the attention of the outdoor clothing giant North Face, which is threatening to sue Winkelmann over his clothing line South Butt.

Winkelmann's attorney, Albert Watkins, says North Face has indicated that South Butt (which riffs the North Face "Never Stop Exploring" motto with the tagline "Never Stop Relaxing") violates its trademark and could confuse the public. 

But that argument just doesn't hold up, according to Watkins: "There appears to be little recognition, if any, that the savvy of consumers precludes anyone from confusing a face with a butt," says the lawyer.

THESOUTHBUTTWEB.COM
  • thesouthbuttweb.com
Yesterday Watkins sent out a press release in which he and Winkelmann defended South Butt as an innocuous product whose proceeds are being used to complete Winkelmann's education.

"The economy is tough; I know my parents are working hard to help me out with college, I took steps to contribute and now I am being bullied into submission," said Winkelmann, in the release.

Though how much Winkelmann -- who graduated high school from St. Louis' Chaminade College Prepatory -- really needs to help out his parents is unclear. Watkins admits to Daily RFT that he got interested in the case because he and Winkelmann's father play squash together at the exclusive St. Louis Racquet Club.

Whatever the case, though, Watkins says sales of South Butt products skyrocketed yesterday after media outlets ran with the story. Prior to this week, Winkelmann had made just over $5,000 from South Butt clothes available online at Ladue Pharmacy.

Yesterday's sales orders reached several thousand dollars in just a matter of hours.

Concludes Watkins: "We're going to continue to do everything we can to ensure that capitalism and the 'American Way' are not trampled on and that a creative entrepreneur can still make a go of it in this country."

North Face could not immediately be reached for comment. 

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