Bankruptcy judge approves GoLite liquidation; future of trademark in VF Corp.’s hands

Will the owner of The North Face, Timberland and Vans resurrect the GoLite brand, or sell it off?

A judge has approved GoLite’s liquidation after no competing bids surfaced to save the brand in bankruptcy.

GoLite’s remaining inventory is being sold to Hilco Merchant Resources to conduct a going-out-of-business sale, which began Friday on the brand’s website and its six remaining Colorado stores.

The sale effectively ends GoLite’s 16-year history under founders Demetri and Kim Coupounas, but could see a new chapter written under outdoor giant VF Corp.

The owner of The North Face, Timberland and Vans still owns the GoLite trademark, which Timberland acquired in 2006, and then VF Corp acquired in 2011 with its purchase of Timberland. VF and Timberland had been licensing the name back to GoLite and the separately-owned GoLite Footwear.

With the former going out of business, and the latter choosing not to renew the name, VF Corp. will eventually be free to resurrect the brand on its own or sell it off.

The ultimate question for VF officials, who have declined to comment: Which is more valuable — holding onto or selling the GoLite name?

–David Clucas