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A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Polo Association—you know, the association for the actual sport of polo—cannot use a polo player (horse-and-rider) and the word "polo" to market its own fragrances. Why? Because it infringes on the rights of Polo Ralph Lauren. Yes, folks, the official U.S. association of the sport cannot use a depiction or the name of its sport on its own merchandise because a corporation got to it first. WWD reports:
The USPA claimed that Ralph Lauren was "attempting to monopolize the depiction of the sport of polo," by preventing it from using its "double horseman mark" on its recently launched fragrance products, according to the original lawsuit filed Nov. 13 in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court.
After deliberation, Judge Robert Sweet denied the USPA’s request for a declaratory judgment, citing that the use of the double horseman image with the word "polo" infringes on Ralph Lauren’s "substantive trademark rights" as it would likely cause "consumer confusion."
Confusion between what? Polo the sport and Polo the brand-that-takes-its-name-from-the-sport? Excuse us while we go and trademark images of people playing football, baseball, hockey, and every other sport we can think of.
· Polo Ralph Lauren Wins Fragrance Case [WWD]