Updated: July 9, 11:20 am (Singapore time)
On July 2, The North Face announced on their company website that they will discontinue the use of the atom logo in their Futurelight campaign.
However, Futura’s lawyer revealed that The North Face has refused to withdraw its motion to defend the use of the logo. He explained, “If they aren’t going to use Futurelight anymore, then why would they need to proceed with a legal motion that could destroy Futura’s entire legacy? TNF cannot say that they respect Futura while simultaneously filing a legal motion seeking to invalidate his entire legacy.”
So, even though TNF has dropped the use of the atom logo, Futura continues to face a legal battle with TNF until both parties reach an amicable agreement or TNF withdraws its claims.
Futura launched a lawsuit against The North Face on January 12 on the basis that TNF”s Futurelight logo looks similar to his iconic graffiti atom logo. Futura claims that The North Face was profiting off the likeness of the logo and its association with his brand, without a cent going to him.
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In a recent Instagram post, Futura wrote that he wasn’t aware of the campaign until he started receiving “hundreds of DMs from numerous individuals” asking him about his collaboration with TNF. When he reached out to the brand for clarification, “[t] hey hid behind lawyers, refused to talk and effectively told us to get lost, so we sued them,” he wrote in that same post.
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According to the suit, the defendant (The North Face) had not sought authorization from Futura to use atom logo before featuring it in an extensive US$20 million global campaign.
Futura claims that TNF’s legal team reduced his career to something of a “…self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his artwork.” Building on this assertion, they claim that Futura would paint different versions of the logo and therefore, could not have legal IP protection.
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This case raises concerns for other street artists who don’t own IP for their signature style, emblems or logos. Depending on the outcome, this could set a precedence for corporations to feature recognizable street art visuals and iconography without consent or monetary compensation.