American clothing company Nautica has been trying to make a Bellingham, Washington company called Nautigirl Brands LLC give up its business name and logo for over a year, The Bellingham Herald reports.
In January 2013, Nautigirl owner Christine Palmerton received a cease-and-desist letter from Nautica that she described as “very aggressive.” Nautica’s letter claimed that Palmerton’s company name, logo, and tagline (“Dare to be naughty”) are too similar to the Nautica brand, potentially causing confusion among consumers.
Palmerton’s Nautigirl sells clothing and other products aimed at boating enthusiasts. The store’s website also features products using the names NautiBoy, NautiBaby, and NautiDog. The Nautigirl trademark was registered in 2008.
Nautica, now part of the VF Corporation, was founded in 1983. According to the company’s website, its merchandise is sold in more than 75 countries, and in 265 Nautica-branded stores, and over 3,000 Nautica branded shop-in-shops worldwide. Nautica has several registered trademarks in categories covering apparel, bedding, fabrics, perfume, and more.
Now in the hands of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a ruling is expected in a few months. If she loses, Palmerton says she’ll appeal to a federal court.