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Trademark tiff pits local store against Bass Pro Shops | News

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Trademark tiff pits local store against Bass Pro Shops
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Valrico, Florida - A small store in Valrico sells clothing emblazoned with a fish graphic and the store's name: The Simple Life Outfitters. But right now, "the simple life" is getting a bit complicated.

When he's not minding the store, owner Kelly Morris loves to fish.

"Ah, just the peace of mind-getting out there with friends," explains Morris.

And that's one of the reasons his store's logo features three fish.

"This one's a red fish, this one over here's a snook and here's a bass," he says, pointing at the image.

But now that scaly sketch has hooked Morris into a legal battle with Bass Pro Shops. The giant sporting goods retailer says Morris's logo is too similar to Bass Pro's.  

Morris disagrees, "They don't have a case" and outlines these reasons: Bass Pro's logo features a bass inside an oval, while Morris's has three fish inside a circle, and the color-schemes are also different.

Morris says he'll fight to keep his logo, because it's the lifeblood of his business. 

"All the money I got invested in it is going to go right out the window; that's my 401(k), my life's savings-you know, everything I put into it. I don't want to stop on it; I don't want to quit," explains Morris.

10 News showed several people the two symbols Friday night and everyone thought Bass Pro's contention that they were similar was just- logo loco.

"No, they don't look alike," exclaimed one woman. 

A man said, "It's obvious, everything is different about it." 

And a six-year-old boy explained,"Because there's one fish right there and three fish right there."

Right now, Bass Pro is angling for help from Hillsborough County to build a store in Brandon. Commissioners are considering an $8 million incentive, so it's a bad time for the company's image to be tarnished by a trademark tiff.

"It's hurtin' a small business and his business isn't going to affect theirs at all," says David Tew, who says he will not shop at Bass Pro Shops again.

Morris says he's gratified by the support he's received from the community and through what's expected to be a long, legal battle-- he's vowed to fight like a bass.

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