Dress: Ralph Lauren
Dress: Ralph Lauren
Last year I attended a Fashion Law Symposium, where one of the topics discussed is the guidelines that the Federal Trade Commission has required that bloggers and influencers to disclose when a blog post, a tweet, an Instagram post, or Facebook post is endorsed by a brand or company. These guidelines are a response to the increasing influence and power that bloggers hold over consumers.
Many brands have recognized that consumers are more influenced by seeing people they admire wear or use products than the traditional means of advertising. A girl living in the middle of America who is obsessed with fashion is likely to get her style inspiration from bloggers whose style she loves and wants to emulate more than from magazines that have come to be seen as unattainable.
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It’s undeniable that fashion bloggers are gaining more and more power in the industry, with mega bloggers like ManRepeller, Damsel in Dior, and Song of Style becoming regulars at front rows of major fashion shows, creating collaborations with high fashion brands, and eventually creating and distributing their own products.
Since becoming a well-known brand, Tory Burch‘s unique designs and patterns have been copied time and again. Last year, the company filed trademark infringement lawsuits against these companies who misappropriated the well-known designs. One of those lawsuits was filed against New York-based jewelry company, Lin & J International.
In the lawsuit, Tory Burch claimed that Lin & J misappropriated designs and patterns that are associated with the brand and was thus selling counterfeit jewelry. Lin & J responded with a counterclaim, asserting that Tory Burch engaged in unfair trade practices, tortious interference with it’s business, defamation and trademark infringement. It also claimed that it did not misappropriate any trademarks and that it’s jewelry was inspired by the Coptic cross.
Steve Madden is in legal trouble, again. This time the shoe company has been sued by Skechers over claims that Steve Madden infringed on several of Skechers’ patents. The infringing patents are designs that are used in the Skechers Go Walk shoes.
Skechers claims that the Setta shoe in the Steve by Steve Madden collection infringed patents that govern the details of the Go Walk shoes’ uppers, outsoles, and bottoms. Skechers claims that selling the Setta style, damages Skechers business because the shoes are being sol alongside each other and causing confusion amongst the consumers.
Skechers Go Walk via skechers.com
Oftentimes, a fashion brand typically sues based on a claim of trade dress or trademark infringement, governing aspects such as these. Converse had recently sued over 30 brands and retailers, and has settled with many of them, over trademarks they hold for their signature Chuck Taylor All Stars. Suing based on a patent claim, is relatively unheard of within the fashion industry.