On Monday, Nov. 14, the Park City-based headphone, accessories, and clothing manufacturer Skullcandy filed a complaint against Skelanimals -- a music-related accessories and apparel brand -- in the Utah District of federal court in Salt Lake City for trademark infringement.
The suit claims that consumers will be confused by the use -- perhaps even deceptively -- of Skelanimals' similar style skeleton logos. The complaint alleges that the use of the logos will damage Skullcandy's value. According to its website, Skelanimals was copyrighted in 2008 and licensed by Art Impressions Media Group -- an agency in Calabasas, Calif., that creates what it calls "lifestyle brands." The Skelanimals logos are based on various transparent animal designs, making their skeletons visible on dogs, birds, spiders, and other animations. The logos are applied to an array of items, such as cell phones, computers, handbags, and hats.
Skullcandy, by comparison, was formed in 2003 and has developed a sizeable market in the action sports industry, collaborating on headphones and other products with athletes such as two-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning and X Games and Dew Tour skater Pierre Luc Gagnon, as well as several NBA players including Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. Skullcandy claims it "reflects the collision of the music, fashion and action sports lifestyles" -- and that its distinctive logo symbolizes that.
A representative for Skullcandy declined to comment to ESPN, except to note that the legal department said the complaint "has no legal effect until it has been served, which it has not." However, the Salt Lake Tribune quoted Tom Burton of Skullcandy's legal counsel, saying, "We have registered trademarks on that skull across the world, particularly in the headphone category. We are recognized globally for that skull ... we have to protect it." (The rep said that Burton was simply paraphrased.)
A request for comment by Skelanimals went unanswered, and no one was made available to address the suit during a phone call to Art Impressions.