Design Patents are underutilized in the Fashion Industry. While many in the Industry intellectually understand that Design Patents protect unique fashion designs (e.g. for clothing and accessories), they nevertheless seem to prefer Intellectual Property protection based on copyright, trademark, and trade dress, leaving Design Patents underutilized. This is because, like Urban Myths, there lingers in some corners of the Fashion Industry three outdated beliefs about Design Patents, i.e.: (i) Design Patent applications take so long to process they aren’t useful by the time they issue; (ii) Design Patents are expensive; and (iii) Design Patents are difficult to enforce. This blog note will demonstrate why the three (3) preceding beliefs are no longer true, state three (3) up-to-date beliefs that are true, and end by encouraging use of Design Patents.
Here are three up-to-date truths about Design Patents:
Some will say Paris Hilton is a trademark-licensing phenomenon by lending her name to a wide range of products from perfumes to shoes to her most recent endeavor-watches. However, this latest endeavor has become very problematic for the heiress. According to Perez Hilton, fine jewelry and watch designer de Grisogono has filed suit against Paris Hilton Entertainment alleging patent infringement of one of their watch designs. The particular watch has been sold by the company since 2007 and is named “Novantatre” which is Italian for “93” referring to the prominently seen “9” and “3” on the watch’s face. According to IPtrademarkattorney.com, de Grisogono applied for and was granted U.S. Patent Nos. D596,052 (“the ‘052 patent”) and D627,673 (“the ‘673 patent”) to protect their design. The ‘673 patent relates to the ornamental design of the watch dial, including the particular positioning of the “9” and “3” on the face of the watch. The ‘052 patent on the other hand, covers the square-shaped design of the watch. De Grisogono is accusing the Paris Hilton-branded “Coussin” watch of copying those same protected design elements that are covered by the two patents.
Coca-Cola has recently had Karl Lagerfeld design 3 limited edition Coca-Cola Light bottles. The designs, which are white and black with a pink lid, are the second design Lagerfeld has done for Coca-Cola. First in 2010, Lagerfeld said “I love this bottle but it’s time for a new one. Actually I want to do three bottles. I loved what we did last year but I will love 2011 even more. I’m delighted about this collaboration.” While Lagerfeld is known for his own fashion house and his work with Fendi, he is best known as head designer and creative director for Chanel. Though the bottles sell for more than $60, an inflated price like most limited edition, the sleek ads will be sure to draw attention to the unique bottle designs. I think it’s brilliant for designers to lend their creative talents to more than just fashion apparel, as this will not only improve the trademark behind Lagerfeld’s name, but it will also show his versatility. Lagerfeld is simply designing the colors and layout of the bottle since Coca-Cola does not stray far from their tried-and-true bottle that they have a design patent for. Cheers!
I found this picture while browsing through a few of my favorite fashion blogs. Everyone likes a good deal, and let’s be honest, how many law students can afford a new pair of Louboutins? At the same time, are fashion bloggers sending the wrong message? The Fashion Law Blog published by Fox Rothschild LLP, recently posted a piece on Forever 21 and the bad wrap they get for their merchandise. He mentioned this Business Week story that describes how Forever 21 makes knock off copies of other brand’s clothing and shoe designs. Illegal? Not yet. But some people do not take very kindly to stores such as these. Susan Scafidi, director of the Fordham Fashion Law Institute, thinks Forever 21 “looks a bit like a crime scene, with the chalk outline of the garments they’re copying.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Forever 21 fan, but I also want stores such as Christian Louboutin to stay in business. It will be interesting to see how these stores adapt after a Fashion Copyright Bill is finally passed. Will there be more brands such as Lanvin for H&M and Rogue for Target or less? Staci Riordan from Fox Rothschild thinks all designers are inspired by the works of another and Forever 21 should be congratulated for their success. Pretty strong arguments on both sides. What do you think?
We all have pieces of jewelry that we wear because we love how nice they look on our finger or neck. Rarely do jeweled accessories serve a function beyond their aesthetics. However, fashion has tried for years to attach itself to practical necessities we all use on a daily basis; the photo locket necklace, the lip gloss ring, even the necklace or bracelet that has secret compartments. Luxury watches are where beautiful jewelry conveniently combines with timepieces. The range of luxury watches has become a lucrative part of the fashion industry, attaching hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewels and diamonds to designer timepieces. With the fashion of watches changing over the years, it is only a matter of time for the ingenious fashion designers to change the watch itself. In recent decades we have seen watches add features beyond just telling time. Predicting the weather, multiple time zones, and calculators are only a few of the various amenities that modern watches offer.
Chanel is one of the frontrunners of all things fashionable, which is why it comes as no surprise that Chanel is a large competitor of couture jewelry watches. To change the design of the famed Chanel J12 watch, Chanel is working with Guilio Papi to renovate the stylish watch.
By STEPHANIE FIGUEROA
Crocs™ is the company made famous for its lightweight resin based clogs initially discovered by the hospital workforce and made popular by….who knows? I’m sure you’ve seen them, and the numerous look alikes in stores and on the streets (and maybe on your feet?) Well, Crocs™ owns design patent D517,789 which protects the ornamentality of their footwear from improper infringement. Design patents protect the way an article looks (35 U.S.C. 171), unlike a utility patent which protects the way an article works. It is interesting that their product is protected, yet the market is inundated with countless imitations. Even more interesting is that a recent case dealt with one Crocs™ imitator suing another Crocs™ imitator for infringement! Try to follow this nonsense closely.