Skeleton Images at Issue in Trademark Lawsuit

Nov 28, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Headphone maker Skullcandy recently filed a trademark infringement suit against lifestyle brand Skelanimals.

Skullcandy, a Utah-based company that makes headphones and other audio gear, recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Skelanimals - a company that makes toys, apparel and other lifestyle products - alleging Skelanimal's use of skeleton imagery violates Skullcandy's trademarks.

Skullcandy's trademarked logo - a stylized human skull - has been in use since 2003, appearing on headphones, clothing, accessories and other products, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The newspaper reported that the Skelanimals brand was copyrighted in 2008, and its products feature images of the skeletons of a variety of creatures, including a bear and butterfly.

In its suit, Skullcandy contends that Skelanimals' use of the skeleton imagery on its products is deceptive and likely to cause consumer confusion, which will dilute the Skullcandy brand.

"We have registered trademarks on that skull across the world, particularly in the headphone category," Tom Burton, associate general counsel for Skullcandy, told the Tribune. "We try to resolve these issues through friendly negotiations but not everyone respects our intellectual property, and we have to protect it."

Contacted by the news source, a Skelanimals representative said the company had not yet seen the legal complaint.

A recent Fortune magazine feature on Skullcandy noted the company's recent successes, including 57.5 percent year-over-year sales growth, and postulated that overexposure could be the greatest threat to the brand's continued profitability.