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When it comes to polo, or, more precisely, Polo, Ralph Lauren’s commercial sense has long outpaced the United States Polo Association’s.

From shirts to sheets to cologne, Polo is a near ubiquitous global brand, and Lauren, perpetually relaxed looking and silver haired, epitomizes elegant poloesque style, a galling fact of life for the association. Unlike Polo, the association is engaged in the actual playing of polo, as it has been since 1890, but Lauren trademarked ”Polo” in 1967. Properties, said. He said the association received $2.2 million in royalties last year from its licensing business.

Of course, Polo and polo are associated with wealth, or at least the impression of it. Lauren’s Polo goods play off the cachet of riders atop horses galloping during seven minute periods on a 160 foot by 300 foot field. The average polo player is a 40 year old man who earns $184,000 a year and has a net worth of nearly $1 million,
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according to the polo association. Polo Association” by writing letters that intimidated retailers with trademark infringement lawsuits if they sold the association’s goods.

The lawsuit follows by 11 months Polo’s still unresolved federal suit against the association for infringing on its rights by using the word polo and a player on a horse.

Its dispute comes down to this odd notion: Polo does not wish the polo association to use the word polo alone to sell its goods.

The association believes that to be a straitjacket on its marketing.

”We’re not saying Polo Ralph Lauren shouldn’t do what it does,” said Jerry Ferguson, a lawyer for the association. ”But we have a legitimate interest in the name polo.”

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Les Fagen, a Polo lawyer, said a 1984 federal decree in an earlier lawsuit ordered that the association ”stay away from Polo Ralph Lauren’s logos, stay away from the horseman, stay away from the name Polo.”

In trying to settle a lawsuit in the 1990’s, the association said, it presented all possible uses of its name, logos and trademarks to Polo for approval. One that it approved, the association says, was the two horsemen.

Upon that approval, investments were made by the association and its licensees to make goods with the mallet swinging horsemen, which is distinguished by one man and one horse from Polo’s logo. But Fagen said Polo never gave final approval.

Earlier this year, as they tried to settle last year’s lawsuit, Polo Ralph Lauren said the two horsemen infringed on its rights.

”They say they didn’t approve it even after approving it,” Ferguson said. ”When they changed their mind,
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it devastated our business.”