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Patagonia is so convinced Gap‘s Arctic Fleece pullovers for men and kids are ripoffs of its own Snap-T Fleece that the company has filed a lawsuit against its rival in the US District Court of Northern California. In the complaint, Patagonia alleges the similarities could confuse consumers.
Business Insider (BI) reports that Patagonia first introduced its Snap-T Fleece in 1985, but competing brands—Gap among them—didn’t begin selling fleece products until the 1990s.
Patagonia alleges that Gap is violating a trade law element called trade dress, or the characteristics of a product’s appearance that tell customers who made the product. According to Patagonia, the similarities between its product and Gap’s “cannot have occurred by accident.”
It’s a serious suit, as Patagonia seeks trial and damages in addition to all Snap-T Fleece profits and Gap’s fleece inventory.
As BI notes, this is lousy timing for Gap, as the company is also dealing with the fallout from the dissolution of its collaboration with Kanye West, AKA Ye, in the form of the rapper’s line of Yeezy products, which the company pulled from its stores last month—a $53 million loss, according to Gap.
Gap has yet to comment on the pending legal action.