Futura is alleging that The North Face used a logo that co-opted his “atom” design as a logo for its FUTURELIGHT line in 2019, and did so to suggest a link to the graffiti artist and his brand.
“If their Logo weren’t enough to conjure FUTURA in the mind of a consumer, Defendants call their new apparel line 'FUTURELIGHT,'” the complaint reads. “In other words, the similarity of the graphic designs and the names is no coincidence: Defendants purposefully invoked Plaintiff in order to suggest an association with him. Although North Face had previously produced apparel in collaboration with him, Defendants made no attempt to obtain authorization from Futura, or even inform Futura, before making extensive use of the infringing logo in a $20 million advertising campaign.”
The documents also say that the FUTURELIGHT trademark “has injured and will continue to injure [Futura] by causing the public to be confused or mistaken into believing that [The North Face]’s goods were designed by, or otherwise affiliated with [Futura].”
Futura’s suit calls for unspecified damages and for The North Face to immediately recall and remove all FUTURELIGHT products.
The lawsuit provides a timeline for the history of Futura’s atom symbol, which has been a persistent motif in the artist’s work and commercial products. His lawyers also point to Futura's past collaborations with brands like Nike, Uniqlo, Comme des Garçons, and even The North Face, which paid to reference the artist’s persona and visuals.
“The North Face seems like they care a lot about being cool," Futura's legal representative Jeff Gluck said in a statement to Highsnobiety. "This is probably the most uncool thing they have ever done. We gave them every opportunity to try and resolve these claims, but they had no interest.”
According to HypeBeast, The North Face has not yet responded to the filing.