National Post (National Edition)
Canada Goose suing luxury Goose Country
Claims U.S. Goose ripped off trademark look
Canada Goose, which describes itself as “among the most innovative and luxurious providers of outerwear in the world today,” is suing one of its competitors, a brand that has received an endorsement from rapper 50 Cent.
In documents filed last month in Illinois court, Canada Goose, which is headquartered in Toronto, argued that Goose Country, a New York luxury brand, has ripped off the Canadian jacket company's trademark patch and look.
Canada Goose says its products have a “unique circular patch with a red perimeter, placed on the shoulder of the jacket or coat,” and that Goose Country “has also featured a circular patch with a red perimeter,” in the same position.
It also says that in addition to the “overlapping” use of the word “goose,” Canada Goose references Canada, and Canada, as a country, is “well known for its geese.”
Goose Country's marks “thus convey a similar commercial impression in their combining of the term (goose) with (country).”
Goose Country was founded in 2018 in New York City. “Our company's founders were an integral component of the 80s-90s leather fashion scene,” the company's website says.
Goose Country now sells a variety of bomber-style jackets, among others, and its social media pages show a number of celebrities wearing their coats, which range in cost, according to their website, from $349 to $3,699.
Among them are Snoop Dogg, Charlamagne tha God and Canadian rapper Tory Lanez. In 2019, the company announced a partnership with 50 Cent, saying that five per cent of online sales would be donated to 50 Cent's The G-Unity Foundation, to help low-income families.
“Goose Country is doing the right thing,” 50 Cent reportedly wrote on Instagram at the time. “Support company's that are minority owned and giving back to low income community's.”
The lawsuit argues that Goose Country's continuing use of allegedly similar branding and sale of similar products “is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive consumers into believing that Goose Country's unauthorized goods ... are sponsored, licensed or authorized by, or affiliated, connected or otherwise associated with Canada Goose.”
“Goose Country is being unjustly enriched at Canada Goose's expense, and Canada Goose is being damaged,” the lawsuit says.
The allegations have not been tested in court.
Goose Country does not appear to have filed court documents in its defence, and did not respond to the National Post's request for comment by deadline on Monday.
Canada Goose also did not respond to a request for comment.
The documents argue that Canada Goose “is one of the world's premier brands of apparel” and can be seen on film crews and in movies, such as The Day After Tomorrow, the 2004 disaster film starring Dennis Quaid, and in Man of Steel, the 2013 Superman reboot.
“Since 2016, Canada Goose has invested tens of millions of dollars on marketing efforts directed to promotion of the GOOSE Marks in the United States,” the court documents say.
The Canadian company says it has been selling its products in the United States since 1994, and has had storefront properties in the U.S. since 2016. It says its name and patches have been trademarked in the U.S.
“The Canada Goose brand has a reputation of providing Canadian-made luxury that was designed to meet the demands of the Arctic,” the documents say.
Canada Goose has fought similar trademark battles before. In 2013, it sued Sears, which it called a seller of “low to mid-quality,” for selling similar coats, again referencing circular logos.
At the time, a spokesperson for Sears called the lawsuit “frivolous,” according to a report from The Canadian Press.
“There are quite a few brands out there that use their logo in a circle and Canada Goose cannot claim it invented that,” the spokesperson said.
In court documents, it argued Canada Goose had embarked upon a “campaign of intimidation.”
The year prior, Canada Goose sued International Clothiers Inc.
The lawsuit was settled. In 2018, it sued a network of Chinese counterfeiters at the same time it was making a major marketing push into that country.
The Illinois lawsuit asks for Goose Country to be “restrained,” and if they are not, it will “cause irreparable injury to Canada Goose and to the public.”
The documents ask for Goose Country to be prevented from using “confusingly similar” branding marks, and hand over the ownership of its domain name( original goose country. com) to Canada Goose.
It also asks that all social media, marketing and promotional material “eliminate” the Goose Country branding and to either “show proof to destruction” of any branded materials, or “deliver to the court for destruction.”
Canada Goose asks for no specific monetary compensation, but says it is “entitled to recover actual and punitive damages,” and says that any of Goose Country's profits “complained of herein ... be paid over to Canada Goose.”