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Seventh Circuit Finds Gatorade’s Use of ‘Sports Fuel’ in Its Slogan Constitutes Fair Use

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last week ruled that well-known sports drink maker Gatorade’s use of the slogan, ““Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” beginning in 2016 amounted to  fair use under the Lanham Act and therefore did not violate SportFuel Inc.’s trademark rights. SportFuel is a nutrition and wellness consulting company based in Chicago that holds two registered trademarks for “SportFuel.” Around 2013, Gatorade, a subsidiary of PepsiCo., began a rebranding effort that included public descriptions of its products as “sports fuels”. Gatorade registered a trademark for “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” in 2016 but disclaimed “The Sports Fuel Company” due to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) notice that the phrase was descriptive of its products. However, the company continued to use the slogan.

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