This New Brand Is An Impressively Ballsy Rip-Off Of Under Armour
Or is it just a coincidence? (It's definitely not a coincidence.)
BY MATTHEW KITCHEN | May 3, 2016 | News
On March 12, 1951, two comic strips by two men in two different countries appeared for the very first time time on newsstands across their respective nations. Both were about a young boy who causes mischief in his neighbourhood, and aside from a difference in hair colour, both versions of "Dennis the Menace" seemed strikingly similar to the other.
We have to accept that creative coincidences happen, especially as people in a similar industry are influenced and inspired by experiences within a small, shared world. So it seems that the creators of the newly launched Chinese athletic brand Uncle Martian may never have heard of Under Armour. They may never have seen the familiar logo, which bears a striking resemblance to theirs, aside from the fact that theirs fails to connect in the middle, has a slight dip to create an M, and is surrounded by a laurel.
Uncle Martian's designers may never have seen NBA MVP Stephen Curry play basketball, a sport very popular in China, wearing his signature Under Armour shoes. They may not have watched Jordan Spieth wear upwards of seven Under Armour logos as he tied the course record at the Masters last year. They may have even come up with a similar aesthetic aimed at a similar audience not knowing that Under Armour's name and logo are registered in China, where its products are also sold. Despite all the coincidences, this may not be a transparent attempt to capitalise on the rising success of a brand that has for two decades put in the effort to compete with established competitors like Nike and Adidas.
But in the words of Paul Thomas Anderson, whose film Magnolia examines the tragedy of coincidence in its opening frames, "This is not just something that happened. This cannot be one of those things. This, please, cannot be that."
Comic strip artists David Law and Hank Katchem accepted the creative coincidence and never sued, but Under Armour's reps have already stated that the company is aware of the Uncle Martian launch event that happened Friday morning, that they believe it is "blatant infringement," and they intend to "vigorously pursue all business and legal courses of action."
It may be a difficult road, as Nike's Jordan brand was unsuccessful in a similar suit brought in Beijing courts last year against Qiaodan Sports, which uses the famous 23 and a silhouetted basketball star in its branding. The use similar numbers and shapes could simply be a coincidence—if you ignore the fact that "Qiaodan" is the transliteration of "Jordan" in Chinese. But in the instance of Under Armour, this is not just something that happened.
From: Esquire US.