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Not all sports bras are created equal. Their general shape may seem simple, but for the billion-dollar athletic apparel industry and the many behemoths that make up its landscape — Nike, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour, etc. — a sports bra is not just a sports bra.
Lululemon is taking Under Armour to court to argue this exact point. The Canadian athleticwear company on Friday filed a lawsuit in Delaware against the Baltimore-based brand for patent infringement relating to Lululemon’s Energy Bra, which retails for $52. Lululemon claims that the design was mimicked in Under Armour’s Armour Eclipse Low Impact, Armour Shape Low Impact, UA On the Move and UA Printed Strappy Bra sports bras, which retail for between $20 and $40.
The design element being specifically contested is the four interlacing straps of the Energy Bra, which Lululemon introduced in 2011. (They received two patents for the design; the first in 2014 and the second in 2016.) Lululemon called Under Armour’s bras “so similar in design to the trade dress that they are likely to cause confusion, mistake, and deception” among consumers, and revealed that counsel had sent a written notice to Under Armour in April of this year without response.
A spokeswoman for Under Armour told The Hollywood Reporter, “Under Armour as a leading Brand in the sports performance market takes the intellectual property rights of others very seriously.”
Given the popularity of the Energy Bra with its customers, Lululemon is claiming that the similarities may cause “irreparable damage” to its reputation, and added that Under Armour’s infringement was conducted “knowingly, willfully, and in bad faith, and with knowledge of Lululemon’s rights,” and marketed to “the identical group of consumers as Lululemon via the same channels of trade.”
Lululemon is seeking injunctive release to halt sales of all of Under Armour’s allegedly infringing products, as well as unspecified damages and/or disgorgement from the retailer’s profits of the bras.
7:22 a.m. Tuesday, July 11: Updated with a statement from Under Armour.
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