May 14, 2019
In 2017, Diana and Alex Short founded an outdoor sporting apparel company named “Cascade Armory,” which reported $85,000 in revenue last year. Today, they find themselves wrapped up in a trademark dispute with sports apparel giant Under Armour, who reported $5.1 billion in revenue in last year.
Under Armor, which “does not comment on ‘ongoing conversations,’” filed a cease-and-desist order against the Short's for allegedly creating brand confusion with their company name. Under Armour argued that they should not be permitted to use the name “Armory” and demanded that they “abandon with prejudice” their application for trademark protection along with all other applications and registrations which contain any variations on the term.
This is not Under Armour’s first trademark battle; the company has previously opposed brands such as BodyArmor, Salt Armour, and Armor & Glory on similar grounds.
At present, the Short's have decided to fight the order in an effort to set a precedent that protects small companies from being denied the opportunity to compete by large, multi-billion dollar companies. “The big companies are abusing the trademark laws to wipe out the competition [and] we want to build awareness and protect companies who don’t infringe,” said Alex Short, noting that he does not “want to be known as the company that folded.”
Though the Short's considered changing their company name, they ultimately decided to stand their ground, citing the significant time, effort, and financial investment that went into creating the brand’s identity. Cascade Armory’s logo reflects its Central Oregon aesthetic, depicting an elk’s head alongside the phrases “Bend Oregon” and “Peaks to Streets.” Under Armour’s logo is an overlap of its initials “U” and “A.”
Trademark opposition cases in the United States can take up to three years to be resolved and are often very expensive, which puts large companies in a better position to withstand the fight. The Short's have set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding account in an attempt to garner the funds they need to see this battle through.
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Yonca Umur