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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sorrentino vs. Abercrombie & Fitch... The Situation Gets FIERCE!

"Peace" is the last thing on The Situation's mind right now. | (image source)
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has made it clear that he is not to be played with, Abercrombie boys & girls! Along with his MPS Entertainment LLC, The Situation filed a lawsuit within the Southern District of Florida of the United States District Court on November 15 against Abercrombie & Fitch - no joke! Officially titled MPS Entertainment LLC et al v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., the lawsuit charges A&F of 15:1114 trademark infringement - the "reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered trademark in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods" likely to create confusion among consumers. Basically, A&F is accused of taking the image of Mike "The Situation" and having incorporated it into its commercial practices for profit.

Woa, what?! Yes. What was meant to be a "joke" in part of Abercrombie & Fitch back in August has now escalated into a courtroom battle. Mike "The Situation" did not take A&F's public relations joke lightly about him being a "concern" that could "cost significant damage to [Abercrombie & Fitch]." After all, A&F had no problem with Sorrentino when A&F stores began selling tees bearing phrases like "The Fitchuation" and "G.T.L. You Know The Deal" back in Summer 2010. The August 2011 'Abercrombie & Fitch Proposes a Win-Win Situation' news release was complete stunt, a stupid joke, that backfired and now has A&F pinned against Sorrentino...


"Starting August 2011, Defendant (the company) [Abercrombie & Fitch] embarked on a grand, worldwide advertising campaign using Sorrentino's name, image, and likeness to create a brand awareness for its products by falsely claiming that [the] Defendant had offered money to Sorrentino if he would stop wearing [the] Defendant's goods." - as quoted by MSNBC.com
Claiming that it was "a grand, worldwide advertising campaign" may sound completely over-the-top. However, keep in mind that Abercrombie & Fitch did announce the August 2011 stunt as a news release and promoted it on its official Facebook page (which had more than 5 million 'likes' worldwide at the time). Immediately, the whole thing made media headlines and went global! Everyone was talking about it - even people who don't even care about A&F - here in the States, particularly, and that is "brand awareness" in itself...

Straight up, Abercrombie & Fitch has benefited from its scandalous run-ins with Sorrentino - all of which A&F instigated - but the allegations of trademark infringement are disputable. (Well, duh! That's what court's for!) A&F did sell tees, bearing "The Fitchuation" and "GTL," inspired by the popularity (or, rather, notoriety) of Sorrentino's public image. However, "The Situation" and "GTL" were not legal trademarks at the time when the A&F tees were being sold and Sorrentino's application for trademark protection was dismissed by September 2010. Sorrentino is also suing another company for using "GTL," but that defendant stands on the grounds that, although he filed for a trademark, Sorrentino has no exclusive rights to "GTL." Nevertheless, pertaining to Abercrombie & Fitch, Sorrentino is pushing ahead with his lawsuit, not merely because of the usage of "The Situation" and "GTL," but because of the deliberate implementation of his "trademark" image in A&F advertising and promotion: he is asking that A&F be ordered to "pay [him] three times damages" and to "pay a reasonable royalty in the amount of $1 million plus exemplary and or punitive damages in the amount of $3 million."

As of now, A&F has yet to respond to the lawsuit, but we'll definitely keep you posted on the matter!

Stay FIERCE!