(CNN) — When Uncle Si Robertson declared on “Duck Dynasty” that “My favorite color is camo” it spurred a line of clothing sold to the A&E show’s fans, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.
But the cable channel’s sales of T-shirts, hoodies and other apparel bearing that quote violate a trademark owned by Hajn, a Florida company that was already marketing “My Favorite Color is Camo” merchandise, the civil complaint said.
The company claims it registered the trademark and put it on shirts, pants, hoodies, hats, magnets, stickers and bumper stickers in 2011, a year before the “Duck Dynasty” reality series began airing on A&E.
“A&E’s conduct constitutes clear acts of unfair competition that risks considerable consumer confusion in that customers purchasing apparel from A&E believe that these goods are affiliated, sponsored, endorsed or related to Hajn,” the suit said. “Alternatively, A&E’s conduct constitutes reverse palming off, in that consumers believe that Hajn is selling Duck Dynasty related apparel.”
Hajn lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to A&E in early June, but the network is still marketing the men’s, women’s and children’s clothing with the trademarked slogan, the lawsuit said.
A&E sells the apparel through merchandising deals with retail outlets such as Sears, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Sports Authority and Target, as well as online, the complaint said.
“A&E generated $400 million in revenues from sales of Duck Dynasty branded merchandise at Wal-Mart in 2013 alone,” the suit said.
The lawsuit demands that A&E stop selling “My Favorite Color is Camo” apparel and pay damages to Hajn.
Lawyers for A&E have not filed a response in court.
“We don’t comment on pending litigation,” A&E publicist Dan Silberman told CNN Wednesday.