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Bass Pro Shops challenges logo of Valrico store

TBO.com staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 09:00 AM
BRANDON -

The owner of a Valrico outdoors apparel store fears he could go out of business due to a legal dispute with mega-chain Bass Pro Shops over the bass in his store's logo.

Kelly Morris, owner of Simple Life Outfitters, said he has used his logo for two years, printing it on T-shirts and hats and accounting for a large chunk of his business.

But Bass Pro Shops, which has plans to build a 140,000-square-foot store in Brandon, contends Morris' logo is too similar to its logo and has filed legal documents asking him to stop using it immediately.

Bass Pro Shops' logo is an oval with an image of a bass jumping in the middle. Simple Life's logo is a circle within a circle showing images of three fish: a snook, redfish and bass.

Bass Pro Shops said its challenge is based on the bass.

"Our logo is our most valuable asset and we fight aggressively to protect it," Bass Pro Shops spokesman Larry Whitely told News Channel 8. "His logo could reflect negatively on us, if consumers confuse the two."

Morris said his logo has been trademarked – a process that includes a federal search of other logos nationwide.

"Without the bass in there," Morris said, "it wouldn't be similar at all."

Morris, whose store is about 1,200 square feet and sells mostly apparel with little overlap to Bass Pro Shop brands, said the mounting costs could force him to close the business.

"It just trickles on down the line, to the bottom of my bank account," Morris said.

For more on this story, go to WFLA.com.

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