A popular Winnipeg clothing retailer is closing up shop at the end of the month amid a dispute surrounding its name.
Oak + Oar posted to its Facebook page that it has been in the process of trying to trademark its name since 2014. A Canadian retailer and designer in Vancouver with a similar name opposed their trademark application and the two have been in a standoff ever since.
“Over the course of the past two years, we have been having a dialogue with this designer who subsequently viewed our humble brand as a threat to their business,” Oak + Oar owner Chris Watchorn said.
“After exhausting all avenues of protecting and pursuing our brand including direct correspondence we have been left without a tangible solution. Regrettably, January 31st will mark the last day of the Oak + Oar brand and our shop at the Johnston Terminal.”
The brand has also been popular among Winnipeg Jets players, with captain Blake Wheeler appearing in the company’s recent advertising campaign. Oak + Oar also worked with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Goldeyes and Manitoba Moose.
A search on the Government of Canada’s website shows a company by the name of Oak and Fort Corp. in Vancouver opposed Oak + Oar’s trademark application. On its website, Oak and Fort says it began in 2010 “with an idea that fashion should be uncomplicated and thoughtfully designed.”
Oak + Oar says they will be clearing out their current merchandise beginning on Saturday.
Watchorn added he has a new project on the way and customers should stay tuned to their social media channels over the next few months.