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Polo Ralph Lauren vs. The U.S. Polo Association: Analysing the Verdict


Alexander the Great was a fan of the game of Polo which proved to be the oldest organised sport. The first person to watch this game was James Gordon Bennet, who founded American polo. Bennet was born on May 10, 1841, and died in May 1918. In order to play the first unstructured game in the history of the United States, he gathered participants, pooled their expertise, and contributed Texas horses and equipment. The U.S. POLO ASSN. was founded in 1981 due to its historical significance and the necessity to develop a brand that would capture the essence of the sport of polo.

The United States Polo Association (USPA) was the name by which the Polo Association was initially and widely recognized. The USPA is in charge of organizing matches and setting guidelines that permit teams to be evenly matched. The USPA was able to include the military during the World War with about 1,200 players, who were expected to play Polo to improve their riding abilities. For each brand’s high-end clothing line, there is a fairly sizable fan base.

The United States Polo Association has established its presence in 180 countries and outlets with more than 1100 retail stores all over the world, earning it the title of fifth-largest sports licensor. Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Polo Assn. are both incredibly well-known and, in every way, a worldwide brand. In order to distribute the U.S. Polo brand throughout India, (Arvind Lifestyle Brands) and the U.S. Polo Assn. inked a licensing deal; Arvind Mills Ltd. Polo’s commercialization started with the production of men’s T-shirts, which increased interest in the game. Producing high-quality watches, clothing, shoes, leather products, accessories, and eyewear delights customers and promotes the brand all over the world.

Even though Ralph Lauren didn’t originally expand his fashion company, he did so on a limited scale. Selling ties under the brand of a company called Beau Brummell in the Empire State Building in New York City. Due to his growing passion for Polo and the sport of polo, Ralph Lauren in just two years introduced the POLO line of men’s clothes. The general population was familiar with the brand’s name. Because of his fame, he opened the first independent store under the name of an American Designer on Rodeo Drive in upscale Beverly Hills.

The personalities of the designers are reflected in several fashion houses. Personal style and the creator’s personality play a significant role in the creation of distinctive patterns and designs, helps designers in upholding the branding strategy for firms that cater to the fashion industry.

Ralph Lauren was also aware of the influence. Everything began with Jerry Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s brother and head of the menswear department in the 1990s, who was a devoted collector of Steiff stuffed bears. Coworkers were forced to present with Steiff Bears at this point thanks to a special setup. The bear was given the same fashion sense as Jerry Lauren and Ralph Lauren to be a version, much as Jerry Lauren had done in the past with his attire. The Preppy Bear was used as a graphic element on the brand’s merchandise to act as the logo and brand mark. You must be familiar with the 1974 classic novel and movie The Great Gatsby. Each actor in the film was clothed by Ralph Lauren.

According to data as of March 27, 2021, Polo Ralph Lauren had 151 stores worldwide.


Around the middle of the 1980s, the conflict had started. Due to their similarity to their logos and sports clothing, Polo and Ralph Lauren have always been associated with confusion. It should have been clear from the past that there is no relationship between the two brands. U.S. Polo Association was actually a sport before it became a brand, and it is being promoted on this day.

Ralph Lauren produced and sold a number of scents using the PRL trademark over the years. The creation and distribution of fragrances for men was one of the areas that USPA was expanding to cover in the fashion industry. The conflict started in 1984 when Ralph Lauren filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. In addition to trademark infringement, PRL asserted that its use of men’s perfume and the double horse-marks on the bottle constituted unfair competition, dilution, and common law infringement. Due to the high stakes involved in trademark infringement proceedings, the court carefully considered all of the relevant factors in this case.

The two-horse logo and associated wordmark have the potential to cause misunderstanding for the general public, the court said. Due to its misleading similarity and the determination that USPA has engaged in unfair competition. Indefinitely, the court ruled against USPA for using perfume goods or comparable things. The USPA was only allowed to use its trademark on perfumes and cosmetics, but it was allowed to use it on watches, leather products, and clothing. The U.S. Polo Association was restricted from expanding its range of products in the fashion business by this 1984 decision made by the District Court in New York.

In conflicts and court orders that occurred between 1984 and 2006, the USPA was compelled to stop infringing RPL’s trademark. The USPA was handed injunctions from the district court banning the use of certain trademarks, including the Double Horsemen logo and the terms “U.S. POLO ASSN.” OR the words “USPA” OR “POLO” about perfumes.

Over 1 million pairs of sunglasses with the Double Horsemen Mark as the logo weas sold by the USPA between 2009 and 2012. On August 12, 2012, PRL appeared in court and said that USPA had broken the 1984-era injunction. The use of the Double Horsemen Logo on the sunglasses also constituted a violation of the prohibition on perfumes. The court refrained from analyzing the market to establish whether or not logos on the sunglasses, including the Double Horsemen Mark, infringed on PRL’s market usage. In response, the court granted PRL an award with relief from “future profits of any sales of eyewear containing the Double Horsemen Mark, sixty days after the court’s order.”


The Second U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan didn’t reach a different conclusion in the matter of appeal brought by the USPA in the USPA appeal. It was a question of restricting USPA’s use of the logo on perfume items. The USPA countered that it would be incorrect to assume that using the double horsemen mark on anything with scents is forbidden. Additionally, it stopped those from using the trademark on clothing and other products. In contrast to clothes and eyeglasses, the court ruled that there is no relationship between fragrance and eyewear. Additionally, a market-by-market study is necessary to prove brand confusion and hold the USPA accountable for the offense committed. It was found that the District Court did not do the market analysis, though.

In an effort to continuously cast doubt on USPA’s credibility, PRL referred to USPA as the “repeat infringer”. Kyle C. Bisceglie, the attorney for Polo Assn., disputed this claim, claiming Polo Assn. was an attempt by PRL to keep Polo out. The 2nd Court of Appeal sided with the USPA because it had made a point of promoting the authenticity of its products. USPA.


In this case, USPA and PRL were involved in an ongoing competition. Owners of trademarks have been given trademark protection on produced and distributed goods under the applicable law in this case. The term “POLO” is derived from sports, and the company’s founders and their partners used it to express their love of the game. Both brands, however, were unable to internationalize their businesses. This is due to the fact that PLR was used to promote and make goods for clothes and fashion using the term POLO in a variety of inventive ways. U.S. Polo Assn. produced men’s clothes, sportswear, and other essential apparel-related products at the same period. However, the U.S. Polo Assn.   was not allowed to use the items attempting to violate the reputation that PRL has built over the years. The most important thing to remember is that to have a trademark be challenged, it must be considered in total consideration, not just part of it. It must stand out visually entirely, whether in the form of the wordmark or device mark, broadening the scope of parties. In addition, it must take into account it is the Double Horsemen mark shaded blue with the words U.S. Polo Association. as a logo. It is similar to Polo Ralph Lauren, with the single horsemen’s logo with black shading and an inscription POLO Ralph Lauren as the logo. One could easily conclude that there is no chance of confusion between the two icons.


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