Bonjour mes amis!
While many bloggers are wrapping up fashion week posts, here is my fashion law roundup! After all, isn’t info about Chanel copying someone else’s design more of a surprise than watching another runway show at this point? 😉 How about learning of a fashion law crime that can get you a higher sentence than committing a murder can get you?
- Victoria’s Secret received a cease and desist letter from Urban Decay dated July 18th. The letter spoke against VS using the word “Naked” for its new eye shadow kit. On July 31 VS in turn asked a Columbus court to decide whether Urban Decay’s use of Naked on its makeup palettes constitutes a protectable trademark. In VS’s lawsuit against Urban Decay, VS relies on its prior use of the word naked. This prior use was on clothing items, so it is not clear whether the argument will stand. I think the palettes may be intended to confuse the consumer since Urban Decay’s palette has been popular in the last couple of years and seeing the similar large lettering on the VS makeup could cause a consumer to think there is a nexus.
- Senator Schumer introduced a modified Design Piracy Bill to Congress. With only a couple of weeks left in the Congress session, Schumer’s introduction of the Bill could have been because he hoped that fashion week would inspire a positive vote or just to appease some constituents… you be the judge.
- Louboutin’s red sole trademark was granted! -Well, sort of. Louboutin v. YSL is the case of two winners: On September 5th the Second Circuit Court upheld Louboutin’s red outsole trademark but narrowed it to “only those situations where the red lacquered outsole contrasts in color with the adjourning ‘upper’ of the shoe.” Since a red shoe with a red bottom is not a contrast in colors, YSL’s red shoe sporting the red outsole is fair game. So Louboutin should not be popping out the bubbly. As I have discussed previously, Louboutin took on too big of a fish going against YSL. He was lucky to not have his trademark invalidated in full. (Catch up on this case here!)
- The leader of an Hermes counterfeit ring in China received a life sentence. The (shocking!) sentence came down in the Heyuan Intermediate People’s Court in China’s southern province of Guangdong. Last year his factory was raided by officials and 100 million yuan worth of counterfeit Hermes products were seized. Xiao Zhenjiang’s sentence was more severe than his three accomplices who received each 7-10 year sentences and hefty fines. Perhaps this sentence is proof that China will actually follow through with a crack down against fakes? Perhaps we won’t have to worry about trademark trolls there? Hmm…
- Are those CK yoga pants posing as Lululemon’s “Astro Pant”? Lululemon Athletica accused Calvin Klein of infringing 3 design patents. You may recall that the design patent was one aspect of Apple’s argument against its recent win against Samsung. This case can pave the way for more fashion law fun so I hope Lululemon comes out on top.
- Lastly, on Friday, Chanel was fined 200,000 € for stealing a design from a local knitwear designer. Upon inspection of the knits, the court called Chanel’s garment “a slavish copy.” This ruling overturned a 2009 one that cleared the fashion house of alleged wrongdoing. Carmel Collie was the plaintiff who claimed to have submitted the design in question to Chanel only to have it rejected. Collie was the founder of World Tricot, a now-bankrupt liquidated business that manufactured high-end knits. In 2009 a Paris commercial tribunal found that Chanel had not stolen the design but was still ordered to pay 400,000 € for breaking a contract it had with World Tricot.
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