Tag Archives: trademark

North Face v. South Butt

Jimmy Winkelmann, a freshman biomedical engineering student at the University of Missouri, decided to create his very own line of sportswear and called his company The South Butt (motto: Never Stop Relaxing). The North Face, a San Leandro, California-based outdoor products company, was not amused and smacked Winkelmann with a cease-and-desist order that Winkelmann read and promptly ignored. Then came the trademark infringement lawsuit. South Butt’s reply, filed in court, is pretty funny. Among other things it defines the company name as “being the soft undercarriage of the non-mountain climbing human anatomy, commonly known and referred to in non-salacious form as, among others, rump, bootie, bottom, buttocks, posterior, rear, saddle thumper and butt.” In a similar vein it describes “Little Jimmy” himself as “a handsome cross between Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman of ‘What me Worry’ fame, and Skippy the Punk from the Midwest” If anyone knows who Skippy the Punk from the Midwest is, please let me know.

The North Face didn’t get the joke. Their lawyers scheduled a deposition of Winkelmann’s father, James Winkelmann Sr. That didn’t go too well. It turns out that Winkelmann Sr. was once a partner at the St. Louis brokerage firm of HFI Securities where partner Don Weir Jr. pleaded guilty a year ago to charges he stole more than $10 million from clients (Winkelmann was never implicated in any wrongdoing).

I suggest you download the reply and the deposition when you want to have a good laugh at the expense of the legal system. The reply is pretty sarcastic and it’s not clear to me who it’s supposed to appeal to (except readers like us, but not necessarily the judge). The deposition reads like a Marx Brothers skit and is every bit as funny. Litigation has never been so much fun.