Wednesday, August 08, 2012

U.S. Army™ "Infantry" v. Persol®

This past June 28, 2012, in a previous blog post we discussed the trademarks of the famous sunglasses brand, PERSOL®, owned by Luxxotica, as follows:

When It's This Hot Outside, You Gotta Wear Shades!

In addition, on June 27th we posted a separate article featuring a PERSOL® design trademark on our blog, as follows:

June 27th Is National Sunglasses Day!

Today, the undersigned was looking at eyeglass frames in a retail shop in Los Angeles and picked out what I thought were a pair of Persol® glasses.  I liked the design and shape and noted what I thought was the famous Persol design on the edge of the frame.  I tried them on and liked the fit. It was then that the storekeeper told me that they were U.S. Army.  I was unfamiliar with this as a brand, even though there was a small sticker of a Star on one of the lenses.  I was familiar with that branch of our Armed Services, of course, but was unaware of this name, e.g., U.S. ARMY, as being licensed out for eyeglasses, sunglasses, etc.  Once back at the office a few Google® web searches revealed this very same set of glasses and confirmed that U.S. ARMY™ is now a licensed brand for sunglasses, eyeglasses, etc.

Source:   *** Used here for "fair use" purposes only.

I then told the shopkeeper that I thought they were PERSOL® glasses.  He then pointed me to the case where they kept the PERSOL® glasses locked up.  Next I took this photo below of the U.S. ARMY glasses and then another photo of the PERSOL® and U.S. ARMY™ glasses side by side.

U.S. Army™ INFANTRY eyeglass frames. Note the silver colored design on the edge of the frames that is very similar to the trademarked design of PERSOL®.

PERSOL® glasses, at left;  U.S. Army™ glasses, at right. Both frames feature a silver colored design component on the edge of the frames.
I debated whether or not to purchase the U.S. ARMY glasses after learning that they were not the PERSOL® glasses I thought they were.  So I looked at a pair of so called designer frames by GUCCI® but I agreed with the shopkeeper that the U.S. ARMY pair looked better on me.  The U.S. Army™ frames were also some $70 less than the GUCCI® frames, though that was not a factor in my decision.

Since we know that PERSOL® has a trademark for its design component on its eyeglass frames, one must wonder if Luxottica is aware of this new U.S. ARMY™ licensed eyeglass frame that is similar to the famous PERSOL® design.  It seems too close to the PERSOL® design mark, in my opinion.  It also does not seem to be merely a coincidence given the fame of this PERSOL® design feature.  I also do not think that there is not a functionality argument either that would be persuasive since this design feature is not required for the glasses to function properly.

U.S. Army™ INFANTRY eyeglasses

Luxxotica (Persol) owned U.S. design Trademark Registration (Reg. No. 1455030; since 1987)

PERSOL® sunglasses

Respectfully submitted,

William E. Maguire, Esq.,
Los Angeles, Calif. 

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