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October 6, 2017

L.L.Bean sued over its 'Be An Outsider' campaign

COURTESY / KMF146, FLICKR
COURTESY / KMF146, FLICKR
L.L.Bean, which recently launched a new "Be An Outsider" branding campaign, faces a legal challenge from a Salt Lake City clothing company claiming it has exclusive trademark rights to "The Outsider" label.

L.L.Bean's new "Be An Outsider" branding campaign faces a legal challenge from a Salt Lake City clothing company claiming it's owned trademark rights for "The Outsider" since June 2015.

KÜHL, a privately held outdoor apparel company with $200 million in retail sales in the United States, filed a lawsuit against L.L. Bean in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah Central Division alleging trademark infringement for the alleged unauthorized use of its trademark "The Outsider."

The complaint was brought by a plaintiff listed as "Alfwear," KÜHL's original company name when it was founded in 1983.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to order L.L.Bean to halt its "Be An Outsider" campaign and award Alfwear "all damages it sustained as a result of BEAN's acts of infringement or unfair competition, said amounts to be tripled, together with prejudgment interest" as well as "all profits received by BEAN from sales or revenues of any kind made as a result of BEAN's infringing actions, said amount to be tripled."

"KÜHL owns all rights, title and interest in U.S. Trademark Registration No. 5,253,591 for the mark 'The Outsider,' which was registered in June of 2015," the company stated in a news release announcing its lawsuit. "'The Outsider' mark was registered for International Class 025 for 'rugged outdoor clothing, including belts, bottoms, hats, jackets, pants, shirts, shorts, t-shirts, and tops.'"

L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem declined to comment to Bangor Daily News, stating the the company doesn't comment on pending litigation. "However, we firmly believe we are well within our legal rights to use the call to action Be An Outsider, and look forward to resolving this issue," she told the newspaper.

In its lawsuit, filed on Oct. 2, KÜHL stated that it had sent a letter to L.L.Bean asking it to immediately "cease [the] use of the word 'Outsider' in connection with clothing to avoid customer confusion."

The Salt Lake City company noted that L.L. Bean applied for "Be An Outsider' with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 30, 2017, for a "service mark for retail store services and retail services in computerized online retail store and mail order catalog services."

The suit asks the court to rule that L.L.Bean's new branding campaign does, in fact, infringe on KÜHL's Outsider trademark. It also asks the court to permanently enjoin and restrain L.L.Bean from continuing to run the "Be An Outsider" campaign and to "deliver up and destroy all devices, literature, advertising, labels and other material in their possession" bearing that trademark."

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