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Tiffany Montgomery
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Quiksilver comments on ESPN suit

By Tiffany Montgomery
May 09, 2008 7:20 AM

UPDATED 2:30 P.M. WITH ESPN COMMENTS


I caught up with Quiksilver spokesman Joshua Katz yesterday to get the company's reaction to ESPN's recently filed lawsuit against Quiksilver. ESPN claims Quiksilver infringed on its X Games trademarks by making clothing with an X on it.


Quiksilver and its skate company DC Shoes have previously sponsored the X Games.


Bloomberg News reported Quiksilver uses a stylized "X" emblem on clothing, labels and accessories that is "confusingly similar" to ESPN's logo for the series of surfing and biking contests, according to the lawsuit filed this month in federal court in New York.


"Despite protests by ESPN, Quiksilver has since willfully expanded the use of the infringing mark, and Quiksilver's apparel and accessories are now replete with the infringing mark," the suit alleges.


I asked Josh some questions about the suit, some of which he could answer and some of which he couldn't. I also am trying to get a comment from ESPN.


What is Quiksilver's response to the suit?

"ESPN contacted Quiksilver only one time in the fall of 2007. ESPN never responded to Quiksilver's attempts to discuss these issues. Quiksilver is very surprised by this litigation, particularly given Quiksilver and DC Shoes' historical support of ESPN and the X-Games.


"Quiksilver believes that the ESPN claims lack any merit and are completely unfounded.


"Although we expect an amicable resolution, Quiksilver will vigorously defend its trademarks, and it has shown a history of success in this area as evidenced by its recent victory in a Roxy trademark case.


"Quiksilver expects a positive outcome in this litigation."


Will Quiksilver still sponsor the XGames after this?

"No Comment."


Did Quiksilver make/sell clothing with an X on it?

"Yes."


Will Quiksilver work with ESPN now on other events - such as allowing ESPN to broadcast a Quiksilver surfing event?

"No comment."


ESPN COMMENT


"We have filed a trademark infringement action in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York against Quiksilver for their use of a mark confusingly similar to our famous stylized X mark, which has become synonymous with action sports and ESPN's X Games. We value our intellectual property rights and intend to take the appropriate steps to protect those rights around the world. We tried unsuccessfully to resolve this matter before taking this next step and are confident that we will prevail."


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