Ralph Lauren Sued for ''Life Guard'' Shirts?

Against all fashion odds, apparently it's still cool to wear a T-shirt claiming you're employed as someone with special privileges.

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Against all fashion odds, apparently it's still cool to wear a T-shirt claiming you're employed as someone with special privileges. For years now, teens have sported "Event Staff" shirts to try to get backstage at concerts, "Undercover Cop" shirts to pretend they're packing heat, or "FBI" shirts to claim they're in the Justice Department (or, in most cases, are a "Female Body Inspector" -- seriously).

While those shirts are usually all in good fun, Polo Ralph Lauren is facing a lawsuit for T-shirts and Polo shirts emblazoned with the words "Life Guard." This seemingly innocuous title is actually trademarked by the Lifeguard Licensing Corp. in New York. According to the New York Post, the Lifeguard Licensing Corp. owns "the right to label swimsuits, apparel and accessories with the word, which was first trademarked in 1937."
The lawsuit against Polo Ralph Lauren is demanding all profits from the sale of the shirts as well as surrendering the remaining shirts.

The New York Post also reports that the "company also claims that Polo's action 'has substantially undermined Lifeguard's lucrative license agreements' with the Popularity Products clothing company and The Warnaco Group, which sells 'Speedo' swimwear."

If Ralph Lauren can get accused of trademark infringement, you can, too. Even though something as simple as "Life Guard" may seem safe to use, make sure before launching any new product that it hasn't already been trademarked by someone else.

[via New York Post]
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