April 2, 2010 6:30 PM

North Face, South Butt Agree to Turn Other Cheek

Posted by Brian Baxter

The North Face's trademark battle against The South Butt, a St. Louis-based parody clothing company, ended late Friday with the parties settling their dispute out of court.


News of the settlement was first reported by the St. Louis Riverfront Times, which has been covering the case since its inception in December. (Click here and here for previous stories from The Am Law Daily on the North Face v. South Butt fracas.)

"All that I'm able to say at this point is that the matter has been amicably resolved," says Albert Watkins, a lawyer for South Butt at St. Louis's Kodner, Watkins, Muchnick, Weigley & Brison. "You don't know how much it pains me to only say that."

Calls to Bryan Cave IP partners Michael Kahn and David Roodman in St. Louis, who represented The North Face in the matter, were not immediately returned. Bryan Cave represents North Face along with G. Roxanne Elings, cochair of the trademark and brand management practice at Greenberg Traurig in New York. (Elings was also unavailable for comment at the time of this post.)

While there's no telling what prompted the settlement, as of 6 p.m. Friday, South Butt's Web site was still running, and there was no indication it was coming down any time soon.

The most recent post on South Butt's Facebook page, meanwhile, states that founder Jimmy Winkelmann, a freshman biomedical engineering student at the University of Missouri, was "partying hard in Panama City with South Butt." Watkins said the settlement did not prevent his client from handing out merchandise while in Florida on spring break.

"Jimmy was down in Panama City having a great deal of fun, enjoying a number of young ladies who enjoyed themselves donning and sporting South Butt wear," Watkins says. "He immediately returned to Panama City to give away many more T-shirts."

The settlement does not require approval of the federal district court in St. Louis where North Face filed the case three months ago.

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