The South Butt resolves legal battle with The North Face

Attorneys from both parties refused to comment on agreement details.
Spencer Pearson / Graphic Designer

The legal battle between The North Face and freshman Jimmy Winkelmann's The South Butt clothing line has reached its conclusion.

St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins, who represents The South Butt, said he could not comment on details of the agreement reached between The North Face and The South Butt, but that the matter has been settled.

"The matter between The North Face and The South Butt has been amicably resolved," Watkins said.

Although Watkins, Winkelmann and attorneys from The North Face refused to comment on details of the agreement, The South Butt's Web site has continued selling merchandise and its pages related to the legal battle were taken down.

Winkelmann founded the spin-off clothing line two years ago after being annoyed by The North Face's popularity in his high school.

A letter was sent on behalf of The North Face on Aug. 14, 2009, asking for The South Butt to stop business, citing trademark infringement.

According to the letter, the use of The South Butt logo and its tagline of "Never stop relaxing" was more than a parody of The North Face.

"It is our client's hope that this matter can be amicably resolved and that you will voluntarily abandon your pending trademark application and immediately discontinue your use of 'The South Butt,' " the letter stated.

The North Face filed a complaint against The South Butt on Dec. 10, 2009, on grounds of trademark infringement and "other rights" of The North Face company that were allegedly violated by The South Butt.

A response to the complaint was filed soon after by The South Butt, citing the first amendment as one of several defenses to the accusation made by The North Face.

"Although the plaintiff has not likely been damaged, any damage which may have inured to the detriment of North Face by virtue of the marketplace presence of The South Butt is a direct and proximate result of the socially irresponsible, consumer backlash inducing, bully-like and erroneously premised demands and actions of North Face designed to do nothing more than rid the consuming public of freedom of choice and stifle pursuit of the American Dream," The South Butt's letter stated.

A hearing was held Jan. 27 to determine dates and deadlines for the lawsuit.

The agreement between The North Face and The South Butt to resolve the issue happened outside the courtroom, Watkins said.

David Roodman, The North Face attorney, and Winkelmann refused to comment on the agreement between the two parties.

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