Blog: Catch 22
Leonie Barrie | 29 August 2003
In what must be one of the weirdest lawsuits to be filed for a long time, teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is suing its rival, American Eagle Outfitters, over its use of the number 22. Abercrombie maintains its Hollister chain owns the right to use of number 22 on clothing, despite the fact it has not actually registered a trademark on the number.
However, Hollister uses several other numbers on its apparel – a quick look at its website throws up shirts with numbers including 6, 78 and 82 for starters - so whether this is just the latest battle in a long-standing feud remains to be seen.
Who actually owns the number 22? Surprisingly, experts say numbers can be trademarked if they uniquely identify goods or services. Try telling that to Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith, Pitt football player Reggie Carter. Or even an organisation called Bill Davis Racing which has already applied for the registration of 22 for use on hats and T-shirts.
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