Titleist Aggressively Enforcing Trademarks Against Company Selling Parody Products

An online golf apparel company called I Made Bogey is being sued by Tltleist. As Deadspin stated in its report, I Made Bogey “sells products with slogans you’d expect to see on the Wildwood boardwalk.” The majority of products on the site are parodies of Titleist, with the name “Titties.” Titleist, through its parent company, Acushnet, has filed suit against I Made Bogey for unfair competition, trademark infringement, and dilution, according to Bloomberg.

I Made Bogey sold hats, golf towels, sunglasses, ball markers, tees, and other products with “Titties” printed thereon. An Instagram post sponsored by I Made Bogey, using the hashtag “golf porn,” and also including a picture of the “Tittie’s hat” next to a naked woman’s torso was another issue in dispute.

Trademark suits can be quite complex, and Heitner Legal can help guide you through those legal issues. Heitner Legal has a great deal of experience when it comes to trademark lawsuits. That experience includes having represented both Plaintiffs who are suing someone else for trademark infringement and/or dilution, and having represented Defendants who were being sued for the same, as well as transactional trademark work.

In the aforementioned Titleist lawsuit against I Made Bogey, Titleist claims both trademark infringement and dilution. To prevail on trademark infringement, Titleist will need to demonstrate that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion as a result of I Made Bogey’s use of the mark. To also succeed on dilution, Titleist needs to show that either its reputation its tarnished or its brand name identity is blurred as a result of the “Titties” products from I Made Bogey.

As Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, has pointed out “I Made Bogey intentionally creates an unwholesome and undesirable association—one involving a patently offensive and obscene reference to sexual organs and sexual activity,” and that I Made Bogey “tarnishes plaintiff’s Titleist brand identity and reputation.” Acushnet also said that “I Made Bogey’s actions are offensive not only to women, but to consumers in general.” In addition to Acushnet’s statements, “Titties” is also written in a scripted font on I Made Bogey’s products just like “Titleist.”

On the other side, I Made Bogey’s defenses consist primarily of the parody and free speech defense. By definition, a parody is “a humorous or satirical imitation.” Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, individuals are afforded free speech, and such free speech might include expression in a manner that may poke fun at something else. I Made Bogey’s argument is that there is not a likelihood of confusion as a result of their own use of the mark, and basically that the joke is obvious to consumers.