Trademark “Situation” Hits Abercrombie & Fitch

Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is suing Abercrombie & Fitch for trademark infringement, false and deceptive advertising, and right of publicity violations after Abercrombie & Fitch sold t-shirts featuring the reality star’s notorious catch phrases. Earlier this month, the popular clothing star fired back, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Sorrentino’s Allegations

The legal feud began after A&F released a press release that stated that Sorrentino was contrary to the “aspirational nature of the [Abercrombie] brand.” The company further stated that it would pay the reality star a substantial amount of money to stop wearing the brand, an offer Sorrentino disputes.

Despite its stated desire to distance itself from Sorrentino and his on-screen antics, the lawsuit contends that A&F initiated an advertising campaign using Sorrentino’s name, image, and likeness. Specifically, Sorrentino alleges that A&F marketed and distributed t-shirts containing an obvious reference to Sorrentino and his trademarks on its website and in its stores, including t-shirts that containing phrases such as “The Fitchuation” and “GTL…You Know The Deal.”

Sorrentino asserts that these products infringe his registered trademarks for “The Situation” and “GTL” and are likely to cause confusion among consumers who will likely believe that Sorrentino endorses A&F.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s Arguments for Dismissal

A&F argues that the lawsuit should be dismissed because its advertising campaign constitutes parody and, as such, is protected as part of free speech. It further argues that Sorrentino does not own the trademarks at issue.

With respect to the trademarks, A&F claims that the Situation has only filed an application for the “GTL” and “Situation” trademarks. In addition, it contends that the application for “Gym Tan Laundry” has actually been suspended because MTV already owns “Gym Tanning Laundry,” and the US Patent & Trademark Office has deemed they are too similar.



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