Monica Botkier has wasted no time in protecting her designs. When she discovered that the Kardashian’s new clothing line, Kardashian Kollection, included a handbag that she thinks looks nearly identical to Botkier’s ‘Clyde’ handbag, she issued a cease and desist letter. Sears, the department store that exclusively carries the Kardashian’s line, promptly removed the bag in question from its website.
Botkier’s ‘Clyde’ handbag is designed with a combination of fine leather, stitching, and subtle additions that allegedly make the bag distinctive. The particular additions made to the ‘Clyde’ handbag are the slanted zippers and drawstring ties on the side, which contribute to the bags shape. Curiously enough, these same additions of slanted zippers and drawstring ties are found on the Kardashian’s leopard print handbag. According to CounterfeitChic, the distinctive shape of Botkeir’s bag is likely to ‘add up to trade dress protection.’
In order for Botkier to succeed in a trade dress claim, she must be able to show that the Kardashian’s bag has copied the elements of the ‘Clyde’ bag which are nonfunctional. Botkier must also show that these elements are recognized by the public as belonging to the ‘Clyde’ bag. Botkier’s stand against Sears and the Kardashian’s handbag, is representative of the struggle many designers face, especially when it comes to handbags. Botkier is one of many designers that seeks protection of her designs in an effort to prevent department stores from selling a similar product at a much lower cost.