In 2007, a Missouri teenager named Jimmy Winkelmann Jr. came up with an idea to spoof lax-bro brand the North Face: an online apparel shop named the South Butt. Other smart alecks had conceived of this name before, but once the North Face sent cease-and-desists, the little jokers quickly cowered before the corporate Goliath's demands. Winkelmann was not like that. With the support of his dad, Jimmy Sr., the future biomedical engineering student forged ahead with a logo that inverted the North Face's half-dome insignia into a bum and a small inventory of hoodies, fleece jackets, and knit caps.
The North Face did not like this.
At the end of 2009, the North Face Apparel Corporation sued the South Butt's owners for trademark infringement. The Winklemanns' derision spilled into the courtroom; their legal counsel prepared at least one a lengthy memo that made a mockery of this process. This attracted a lot of media attention, thereby helping Jimmy Winkelmann earn enough revenue to fund his med-school dreams, as well as his sister's high school and college tuitions, according to a Reddit AMA the current college student gave this year.
Ultimately, the suit forced the South Butt to shut down in 2010. But instead of quietly disappearing, the Winkelmanns launched something else to take the South Butt's place, under a new parent company: a brand called The Butt Face. Motto: "Never Stop Smiling!" Logo:
The North Face did not like this either. On August 3, 2012, the fleece behemoth filed paperwork asking a federal judge to hold the Winkelmanns in contempt of court.
Last week, Jimmy Jr. and Sr. acknowledged that they violated their 2010 settlement agreement and retired the Butt Face, shutting down the goof label's web site, Facebook page, and Tumblr. (The terms of the agreement specifically forbid them from saying anything to the press except "No comment.") But the brand's court documents live on, and they are ridiculous.
Let us take you through one in particular, a joint memo filed last month rebutting the North Face's claim that the Butt Face's owners were in contempt of court.
The document begins with an absurd quote ("Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job") and then relishes in some comically forced similes, comparing the North Face company to "a fallen prize fighter" and inexplicably, a Casablanca character. There's also an ungainly metaphor regarding an elephant.
But Page 9 is where things get really good. In invoking past precedents, the rebuttal scores an awesome trifecta by mentioning "Mutant of Omaha," "Debbie Does Dallas," and "Buttwiper" all in two paragraphs:
Later, a Jordache case citation conjures the phrases "fat butts" and "lard asses":
There is a reference to the In Living Color sketch "The Buttmans":
Also, bowel evacuation:
There's a self-deprecating aside that this entire premise is "immature," "sophomoric and not tremendously clever":
Finally, the humans behind this gleeful document admit they may, in fact, be "a bit depraved":
The complete 23-page memo is here. Our highlights, their typos:
Jimmy Jr. has kept alive his Ralph Lauren parody, OLOP. We look forward to those documents.