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
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
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.