Months after filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against The North Face, Futura has finally issued an official statement about the proceedings and the intimidation tactics the outerwear brand is allegedly using against him.
The lawsuit filed back in January pertains to The North Face's use of a logo that looks very similar to the graffiti artist's "atom" design. According to Futura, the collection in question also implied an association with him due to its misleading name: FUTURELIGHT.
However, earlier this month, a California judge granted The North Face's motion to dismiss Futura's complaint, The Fashion Law reports. The court's decision questioned the validity of a trademark complaint, claiming Futura's signature atom design "is purely artwork,” and thus “does not function as a source identifier" – so it does not carry a trademark.
Sadly, Futura's attempt to rely on trademark protection was rejected by California Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, who holds that “[b]asic geometric shapes, basic letters, and single colors are not protectable as inherently distinctive.”
That report, however, isn't accurate Futura's lawyer Jeff Gluck tells Highsnobiety. "The judge allowed Futura to amend the complaint to provide more informant before any final decision is rendered," he says. "Trial dates have been set and the case is far from over."
Now, Futura himself is finally speaking out as well. In a lengthy statement on Instagram he revealed how drastic his legal action was for the creative community and what it could mean for artists moving forward.
"I feel now is the time to speak up, and stand up, not just for myself, but more importantly, for the creative community at large, and the wider arriving community moving forward, the young creatives of tomorrow who certainly shouldn’t be exploited or manipulated," he wrote.
He revealed he only became aware of the alleged infringement after he received tons of DMs from people thinking the FUTURELIGHT line was an official collaboration. “It was anything but a collaboration," he clarified. "To me, it looked like a straight up heist, we assumed it was some wild mistake, we reached out to TNF to try and connect, instead, they hid behind lawyers, refused to talk, and effectively told us to get lost, so we sued them.”
The artist also spoke of the hurt he felt when TNF diminished his work in court by referring to him as a “self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his artwork.” He also revealed that that TNF has threatened him with covering all of its lawyer fees as an attempt to intimidate him, going on to call the scare tactic “completely reprehensible.”
He shared that if TNF succeeds with their argument, many artists will no longer have protection over the work, and with this in mind "we will keep fightin."
Read Futura's full statement below.