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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Gainesville T–shirt company battles Polo Ralph Lauren on trademark dispute

Nick Moskowitz is fighting to make his mark in the T-shirt industry.

Moskowitz is the 29-year-old creator of ThreadPit.com, a company based out of Gainesville that sells humorous and raunchy T-shirts.

Moskowitz started ThreadPit.com in the summer of 2004 with one of his friends.

"We were just sitting around the pool one day and said we wanted to make T-shirts," Moskowitz said.

But one of the shirts currently featured on Moskowitz's site depicts a polo rider falling backward off a horse, an image that has caught the attention of fashion company Polo Ralph Lauren.

Polo Ralph Lauren filed a petition to cancel Threadpit's registered trademark with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which is an administrative arm of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said Howard Caplan, the attorney representing ThreadPit.com.

The trademark cancellation is on the basis that ThreadPit's mark is confusingly similar to Polo Ralph Lauren's and that it tarnishes the image of their polo products, Caplan said.

Deidre Blocker, an associate with the Greenberg Traurig law firm representing Polo Ralph Lauren, said she could not comment on the case.

A public relations representative at Greenberg Traurig also said he could not comment.

Caplan said Moskowitz's trademark is more of a parody that pokes fun at a sport considered exclusive and elitist.

"That's really the genesis more so than Ralph Lauren's rider," he said.

The case was filed in April of 2007, and both parties are still going through a "discovery period" during which they request information from each other.

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After that, depositions will be scheduled, and from there they will decide whether to reach a settlement or go to trial, Caplan said.

Moskowitz said he will continue "sticking it to the man" by fighting the trademark battle.

"I think it would be good to have this on the books as a victory for parody," he said.

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