Wilson Sued By Rival Rawlings For Trademark Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on July 6, 2012

baseball-200x133Los Angeles – Athletic goods heavy weights Rawlings Sporting Goods and Wilson Sporting Goods are battling it out in a federal court over trademark infringement. The most recent competition between the two legendary sports equipment giants concerns the unauthorized use of Rawlings’ Gold Glove trademarks.

Wilson has allegedly been producing baseball gloves with gold-colored webbing and has been featuring them in promotional materials. According to court documents filed Thursday in St. Louis, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Philips has been featured in Wilson materials holding a Wilson baseball glove. The glove in itself is not controversial. However, the fact that the glove is resplendent with gold-colored webbing, stitching and lettering, is problematic. Court documents show assert that Brandon Phillips won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2011, but was later given a golden glove from Wilson that is confusingly similar to Rawlings’ trademarked Gold Glove.

Rawlings also claims that the Gold Glove is one of the most prestigious awards in baseball. Because of this prestige, Rawlings has trademarked the words “Rawlings Gold Glove Award”, “Gold Glove Award”, and the distinctive golden baseball glove image that makes the award instantly recognizable. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Rawlings initially filed the registration paperwork for its Gold Glove Award back in 1973. However, the St. Louis Sports purveyor has been giving out its famous Gold Glove Award since 1957 and has distributed 981 since the award’s inception.

Rawlings also gives winners a golden baseball glove with its unique golden stitching, webbing and markings. By giving out similar golden colored baseball gloves, Rawlings insists that Wilson is diluting the distinctiveness of its carefully constructed brand image and eroding the public’s exclusive association between the trademark and high quality Rawlings’ products. Furthermore, Rawlings asserts that Wilson’s use of a golden glove tarnishes the reputation of the trademarks and lessens the public’s capacity to identify and distinguish Rawlings’ goods and services. Rawlings is seeking a court order to prevent its competitor from producing, manufacturing, distributing or using its trademarks in promotional materials.

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