The outdoor clothing company Icebreaker has won a decade long legal dispute in the US after Italian fashion design house Gilmar complained its Iceberg trademark had been infringed. The US District Court in Oregon dismissed Gilmar’s claim that Icebreaker was infringing on its Iceberg trademark in the US, adding that no trademark infringement has taken place.
Gilmar first filed action against Icebreaker in 2001, shortly after the New Zealand outdoor clothing firm began expanding into the US. The rival then waged legal war around the world filing suits in the European Union, Russia, and Canada. Gilmar argued its Iceberg brand, founded nearly 20 years before Icebreaker in 1994, had suffered in the US after its rival entered that market.
Finding in favour of Icebreaker, Judge Anna Brown noted the different price points of the products with the Italian firm charging more than US$3000 for a garment while Icebreaker sells T-shirts for US$75. She also took market positioning into consideration. Iceberg is featured in the pages of high end fashion magazine and shows at Milan Fashion Week. In comparisson, Icebreaker advertises in athletics magazines such as Rocky Mountain Sports and the clothing is designed and branded for active outdoor pursuits.
Icebreaker CEO Jeremy Moon, speaking from Portland, described the courtroom win as a “victory for common sense”.