On Cyber Monday, along with millions of Americans I was scouring the Internet for the best deals. While many were looking for deals on electronics, housewares, toys and so on, my search was strictly fashion-related (naturally!). And, even though my closet is overflowing, I cannot resist a good sale!
I came across online retailer, Daily Look, who was offering a pretty good deal of 30% off their entire website plus free shipping. I had heard of Daily Look before and after browsing the website, I came to the conclusion that Daily Look had some pretty cute pieces at pretty reasonable prices! It reminded me of Nasty Gal, Tobi, and Lulu’s, offering trendy pieces for reasonable prices with the random expensive piece thrown in here and there.
Now, as I was doing my browsing, something caught my eye. I have a slight obsession with all things Chloé, in particular the ‘Marcie’ collection (I have a satchel, a crossbody and a wallet…and I still want more). So when I saw this purse under the Accessories section of Daily Look, I was surprised to see Chloé selling through this e-retailer. However, upon further inspection, I noticed that it wasn’t a Chloé bag but a copy of my beloved bags at the low price of $49.99.
Daily Look Classic Saddlebag Purse via dailylook.com
In October, Converse sued 31 brands and retailers in federal court claiming trademark infringement of its iconic shoe, the Chuck Taylor. The companies sued range from Wal-Mart and H&M to Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. Along with its federal lawsuit, the shoe brand submitted a complaint to the International Trade Commission.
Converse’s Chuck Taylor High Top Sneakers
Converse has claimed that the brands and retailers have violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which governs the importation of products into the United States. It asked the ITC to impose an exclusion order preventing any import of any products that may be deemed as infringing of Converse’s trademarks.
The legal battle over the use of the term ‘Red Gold’ in jewelry is raging on. Beverly Hills jeweler, Chris Aire, recently sued almost 20 luxury fashion brands, claiming trademark infringement for their use of the term ‘Red Gold’ to describe their fine jewelry and watches.
One of the brands sued was LVMH subsidiary, Hublot, who moved for summary judgment claiming that the term ‘Red Gold’ is generic and that any use of the term is not trademark infringement.
The judge in the lower court dismissed Hublot’s motion for summary judgment. Typically, a motion for summary judgment rests on the argument that there is no legal basis on which the original complaint can stand. The judge held that the issue of whether the term ‘Red Gold’ is not a matter of law to be decided by the court, but rather a matter of fact to be decided by a jury.
Converse has sued up to 31 brands in 22 lawsuits for trademark infringement alleging that each company has copied its signature shoe, the Chuck Taylor sneaker. The companies sued range from affordable retail stores like Walmart and H&M, to competitors like Skechers, to high fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch.
Converse Chuck Taylor Sneaker
Converse has claimed in its lawsuits that these brands and retailers have infringed the American shoe brand’s trademarks and have produced and sold shoes that are confusingly similar to the Chuck Taylors that Converse has become famous for. Specifically, Converse claims the infringement of the trademarks of the rubber stripe around the shoe and the pattern on the bottom of the shoe.
Parody brands are a common occurrence in the fashion industry. In fact, one brand, Brian Lichtenberg, has become quite famous for its garments seemingly making fun of high fashion brands, such as the rather popular “Homies” style, parodying Hermès, and the Feline style, parodying Céline. However, founder of parody brand What About Yves, Jeanine Heller, has just been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit from Chanel, for a sweatshirt the brand sells depicting the Chanel trademark of the interlocking C’s.
What About Yves “Chanel” Sweatshirt
According to the lawsuit, What About Yves is “displaying, offering for sale, and selling on [its] website, and selling to third-party retailers, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt bearing Chanel’s monogram mark with an image of an animated ghost commonly associated with the motion picture Ghostbusters.” The sweatshirt and shirt mentioned in the suit were titled the “Official Chanel X Ghostbusters” on the What About Yves website and features Chanel’s famous interlocking C’s logo with a picture of ghost over it.
David Yurman Enterprises sued Sam’s East Inc. and Sam’s West Inc., alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, tortious interference, and unfair competition in Houston federal court last week.
Yurman claims that Sam’s Club has engaged in the “wrongful, unauthorized promotion and sale of David Yurman-branded jewelry products” in Texas, throughout the country and even online at www.samsclub.com.
The luxury jewelry brand points out that Sam’s Club is not an authorized retailer for the David Yurman products, and therefore, the only way they were able to obtain any David Yurman products is by “inducing one or more Yurman authorized retailers to sell the products to Sam’s Club in violation of their Authorized Retailer Agreements.” Thus, Yurman is claiming that the retailer has committed tortious interference with its contractual relations, harming the luxury jeweler’s business.
Furthermore, Yurman is arguing that by selling David Yurman-branded products without the authorization of the company, the retailer has engaged in an unauthorized use of the David Yurman trademark as well, by using the mark “in connection with its promotion and sale of wrongfully acquired David Yurman jewelry products.” The jeweler claims that this creates a “false impression” on consumers that Sam’s Club is associated with Yurman.
The jewelry brand also stated in its complaint that Sam’s Club acquired and sold their products with the “full knowledge that Yurman sells its David Yurman jewlery products through an exclusive network of authorized retailers who receive specialized training regarding such products and the manner in which they are to be displayed and promoted.” This points to the impact that selling in a wholesale retailer could have on the brand’s value and reputation.
A couple months ago, Taylor Swift was sued by apparel company, Lucky 13, for trademark infringement. The brand, owned by Blue Sphere Inc., took issue with some merchandise that Swift sold on her website that contained the phrase “Lucky 13.” The suit claims that the merchandise confuses consumers as to the origin of the products because Lucky 13 and Swift have the same target market.
“Taylor Swift” By David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
Swift’s legal team filed their answer on Monday in federal court in California. In the answer, Swift argues that it’s not possible that consumers confuse Swift’s merchandise with that of Lucky 13. The answer points out the Lucky 13 is deemed a “fashion retailer with exclusive designs for me and women and children of the true American Rockabilly Pride!”
A judge in New York Federal Court dismissed a lawsuit instituted by Ralph Lauren Corp. against the United States Polo Association and other entities, including Arvind Inc., USPA’s Indian apparel licensee. Ralph Lauren claimed that USPA and Arvind violated a 2003 settlement agreement pertaining to the use of Ralph Lauren’s trademark of the mounted polo player. The District Court judge ruled that the case belongs in arbitration as per the settlement agreement and granted motions by USPA and Arvind to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration.
Polo Player, Nacho Figueras, Wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt
This ruling is the most recent occurrence in a trademark battle that has been ongoing for nearly 30 years, initially brought on by USPA and its licensees against Ralph Lauren in 1984. The USPA instituted a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment that a logo bearing a horse and rider image did not infringe on Ralph Lauren’s mounted polo player logo. Ralph Lauren then countersued for trademark infringement. The court in that case dismissed USPA’s motion and ruled that the USPA had in fact not only infringed on Ralph Lauren’s logo, but the use of the word ‘polo’ by USPA constituted trademark infringement as well.
Lat week, Chanel, arguably the ultimate arbiter of all things chic, sued a woman named Chanel Jones for trademark infringement and dilution. Her crime? Using her own name in the name of her business: Chanel’s Salon. The Parisian brand filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, as the salon and Jones are based in Merrillville, Indiana.
In the suit, the brand claims that the use of the name Chanel by Jones amounts to trademark infringement as it allegedly infringes on at least nine trademarks registered with United States Patent and Trademark Office. The brand argues that Jones and her business are benefitting off of the goodwill of the mark Chanel.
Now, I am a fierce champion for the intellectual property rights of designers and fashion houses. It takes a lot of hard work, and time, and effort to create and maintain a successful brand in the industry, an industry where as Heidi Klum so eloquently puts it every week on Project Runway, “One day you’re in and the next day, you’re out.” But, it does seem a bit ruthless to institute this lawsuit. However, under the law, Chanel will likely be the one to come out on top. So, let’s take a look at the law, shall we?
It seems LVMH just doesn’t want to stay out of the headlines. But, like the Hermès/LVMH dispute, the dispute between LVMH and Google was settled amicably.
The luxury conglomerate released a statement on Thursday stating it was ending its legal dispute against Google and that the two parties signed an agreement committing to jointly “tackle the advertising and sale of counterfeit goods online.”
This settlement stems from a dispute that began in 2003 when LVMH sued Google in France over Internet searches linked to specific trademarked names. LVMH claimed that Google searches produced links to websites that sold counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Dior products.
LVMH had filed suit, arguing that Google should be held liable because advertisers were able to buy keywords that corresponded with trademarks, thus allowing this advertisers to trade on the goodwill of the trademark, such as Louis Vuitton or Dior.