Seattle-based sports and footwear company Brooks Sports, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against classic American tailored apparel maker Brooks Brothers Group, Inc. in federal court, complaining of an alleged breach of contract, unfair competition, and trademark infringement.
The filing made by Brooks aims to prevent Brooks Brothers using the “Brooks” trademark on its stores and products in order to avoid “public confusion and dilution” of the mark.
Brooks is also seeking damages from Brooks Brothers for unfair competition and breach of contract.
According to the athleticwear company, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., “the two companies have coexisted for more than 100 years without consumer confusion due to their distinct product lines and trademarks.” Brooks highlights that while it sells sportswear, athletic footwear and accessories under the “Brooks” trademark, Brooks Brothers is known for its ready-to-wear fashion and tailored apparel, which is under the “Brooks Brothers” trademark.
Since 1980 this distinction between the two companies has been further supported by a coexistence trademark agreement.
However, Brooks claims that Brooks Brothers has recently moved to block the sportswear retailer from securing registrations for its “Brooks” trademark both at home and abroad.
On top of this, the fashion group made applications on December 30, 2019, to use the lone word “Brooks” as a trademark on eight product categories, including sporting goods and accessories, as well as athletic footwear, a category which Brooks Brothers expanded into in 2018.