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Jersey Shore fans can tell you that "GTL" stands for "gym, tan, laundry." But, maybe it should really stand for "gym, tan, lawsuit." Reality star "The Situation" has sued clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for $4 million for infringing on his trademarks and falsely affiliating him with the brand.
The Situation, real name Mike Sorrentino, says that last August A&F went off on a worldwide campaign using his name and likeness.
No, the company didn't use The Situation as a celebrity endorsement. Instead, they offered to pay The Situation to stop wearing A&F clothes.
At the time, A&F released a statement saying that they were concerned with the reality star's choice of apparel. In short, they were worried that Sorrentino's love of A&F clothes could harm their brand.
Other celebrities sue companies for using their name and likeness to sell goods. Kim Kardashian sued Old Navy for using a look-alike in their television commercial. Marlon Brando's estate sued Harley-Davidson for using his moniker on a line of motorcycle boots.
Maybe there's something to be said about The Situation's public image outside of Jersey Shore groupies. Especially if A&F really believed that customers could get turned off by their products simply because The Situation likes to wear some A&F sweatpants now and then.
Even so, A&F probably should have ensured they weren't actually infringing upon The Situation's trademarks. Sorrentino had the sense to have "GTL" trademarked in 2009. A&F previously (and ironically) produced t-shirt designs that used the phrase, "GTL... You Know The Deal," and another one that read "The Fitchuation." It seems that when they made those shirts they weren't particularly concerned about being associated with the Shore.
Now that The Situation has sued Abercrombie & Fitch for $4 million, the clothing retailer might be regretting some of the disparaging comments they made about the reality TV star. After all, if the Jersey Shore star prevails, he'll have enough money for years of gym memberships, hundreds of tanning sessions, and more than enough quarters for a few years of laundry.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.