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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2004


A war of the ‘Scotts’ looms

Scott USA sues ScotteVest for trademark violations

Express Staff Writer

Scott USA, the Ketchum-based sporting goods manufacturer, filed a federal lawsuit last week that alleges a local clothing producer has violated and diluted the company trademark by using a brand name that includes the word "Scott."

The ScotteVest company logo has prompted a federal lawsuit by Scott USA, which alleges the use and style of the word "Scott" could cause confusion in the marketplace.

Attorneys for Scott USA on June 15 filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Boise against ScotteVest, a Ketchum-based company that specializes in producing outdoor clothing that stores electronic equipment, such as digital music players and cellular phones.

The lawsuit alleges that by operating under the ScotteVest name, company founder and CEO Scott Jordan violated federal trademark infringement laws and engaged in "unfair competition."

Jordan established ScotteVest in 2001 in Chicago and moved the business to Ketchum in September 2003. ScotteVest sells its fleece jackets, shell jackets, sports jackets and other clothing items primarily through the Internet.

Scott USA was founded in Ketchum in 1958. The company is known best for its ski goggles and ski poles, but also sells outdoor-sports apparel and bicycles.

In addition to listing six categories of violations committed by ScotteVest, the lawsuit demands a permanent injunction against any use of the word "Scott" to promote or sell ScotteVest products. It also seeks an injunction against the use of Sun Valley as a location reference to promote the ScotteVest business.

Furthermore, the suit seeks "monetary damages in the amount of restitution of all revenues, profits and advantages received by the defendants as a result of their wrongful acts, and any lost profits (Scott USA) has sustained."

Scott USA alleges that the violations committed by ScotteVest are related largely in part to ScotteVest’s use of the word "Scott" to promote and sell ski-related products from the Ketchum area.

"He’s using a logo very close to the ‘Scott’ logo," said Dave Stevens, Scott USA chief financial officer. "It creates confusion in the mind of the consumer."

Stevens said the word "Scott," as it is written in the ScotteVest logo, notably resembles several of Scott USA’s trademarked uses of the same word.

Jordan, who operates ScotteVest with his wife, Laura Jordan, the company president, vehemently denied violating the Scott USA trademark or gaining any benefit from the Scott USA name.

Jordan said his company holds a registered trademark on the ScotteVest name.

"We’re just trying to make a living," he said. "No one has ever confused us with Scott USA."

Jordan added: "If I thought there was any confusion between ScotteVest and Scott USA, I would change the name."

The lawsuit states that Scott USA issued a letter to Jordan in June 2002 to request he cease use of the word "Scott" in his company name.

Indeed, Scott USA attorneys did send a letter to Jordan that noted Scott USA had no objections to the use of the term "eVest," or the name Scott Jordan in conjunction with "eVest."

Attorneys for ScotteVest wrote back to Scott USA in July 2002, stating that numerous federal trademark registrations for use of the word "Scott" were in force but were not all held by Scott USA.

Jordan said he did not receive additional correspondence from Scott USA and eventually determined that the issue had been resolved.

He said he believes the Scott USA suit was issued partially in response to his decision to relocate ScotteVest to Ketchum.

"My plans are to defend this forcefully," Jordan said. "I’m not moving from Sun Valley. I’m not going to be intimidated."

Stevens said Scott USA intends to do what it deems necessary to protect the Scott brand, which the company has worked to build for more than 40 years.

"He’s become a lot more aggressive in his marketing, so we decided we needed to take legal action," Stevens said.


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