During New York Fashion Week last week, Mansur Gavriel debuted its first shoe collection alongside its it-girl favorite bags. While many in the industry were excited to see this emerging brand make its way into new areas of market, one fellow designer was not so please.
Designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh of New York City, released a statement claiming that the brand’s duo design team, Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel, had copied Zadeh’s “hallmark mule and slide designs” and that the shoes were also in identical colors to Zadeh’s Spring 2015 collection.
When pressed about her accusations by Business of Fashion, she revealed that her store records show purchases from “Rachel Mansur dating March, April and May 2015, of the exact styles and colors in question, as well [as] an earlier purchase of Maryam Nassir Zadeh sandals from Floriana Gavriel in July 2014.” She cites this as evidence that the designers had access to her shoes and referenced them in their own line.
Beverly Hills jeweler, Chris Aire, sued a whole host of fine jewelry and watches brands back in 2010 for trademark infringement over the use of the term “Red Gold.” One of the brands sued by Aire was LVMH’s Hublot. The legal battle between Hublot and Aire has gone through several levels of the judicial system.
The crux of Aire’s claim was that “Red Gold” was a signifier of Aire’s products and brands and that he in fact had exclusive right over the use of this term because he had federally trademarked the term.
Hublot attempted to dismiss the case through a motion of summary judgment, claiming that the trademark is generic. The lower court declined to dismiss the case and deemed that there were enough questions of fact that a jury needed to decide the outcome. Hublot then appealed this decision once again arguing that Aire has no exclusive rights over the term “Red Gold” because the term has become generic within the industry.
According to new reports Rihanna has trademarked her last name, Fenty, in connection with several retails goods. A trademark search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website shows that Rihanna has trademarked the following: Fenty Swimwear, Fenty Swim, Fenty Nails, Fenty Makeup, Fenty Lingerie, Fenty Intimates, Fenty Face, Fenty Cosmetics, Fenty Clothing, Fenty Beauty, Fenty Apparel.
The number of trademarks and the fact that they are all associated with retail goods somewhat indicates that the Bahamian singer is considering expanding her empire to include fashion goods. In the past, Rihanna co-designed or created products for larger lines, such as MAC Cosmetics, River Island, and her own perfume lines, which have done very well in the marketplace.
What is interesting to me is that Rihanna was able to trademark her last name at all. Oftentimes, when a person or business attempts to trademark a personal name, the USPTO will only grant the trademark if the person or business shows that the name has acquired secondary meaning. Under trademark law, secondary meaning is when consumers associate the mark to the specific company.
Jeremy Scott, the newly appointed creative director of Moschino, has always had a design aesthetic that is rather fun and eccentric, and he definitely applied that aesthetic to his Fall/Winter ’14 collection for Moschino at Milan Fashion Week. The collection featured a play on consumer culture with what seemed a parodical homage to Chanel’s classic styles, cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, and food giants like McDonalds, Budweiser, and Fruit Loops.
This collection, created quite the buzz in the fashion world because of its irreverence and commentary on consumerism. In fact, Moschino has already begun to sell on its website a capsule collection of the runway collection called Fast Fashion, featuring several of the McDonald’s inspired pieces. While these rather rambunctious pieces are not exactly my style, they are interesting to look at as they make you think about how much we are affected by consumerism in our own style choices. However, the question that remains from a legal standpoint is whether the pieces in this collection could be the basis for trademark infringement suits against Moschino?
I love fashion as is evident by my previous posts. I am also in my 3rd year of law school. My hope is to combine my love of fashion with my legal education and experience in my forthcoming career in fashion law! I decided to explore some of these new fashion law issues in my blog along with my posts about food, fun and fashion!