Anyone who has walked into a Guess store in the past four years has probably noticed that the company’s handbags resemble the iconic Gucci pattern. Sure, both brands start with the letter “G,” but does that really give Guess the right to use a trademark that is strikingly similar to the luxury brand?
According to a federal judge in Manhattan, the answer is no. On May 21, 2012, WWD reported that Gucci won its trademark battle against Guess Inc., but Gucci did not receive the damage award that it was expecting. Gucci claimed that it suffered $221 million in damages, but it was only awarded $4.7 million in combined damages from Guess and its footwear licensee Marc Fisher Footwear. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote that Gucci had proven its dilution claims under the Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark statute in the
United States, and limited Guess’ use of the Quattro G pattern in brown and beige colorways. However, Scheindlin rejected Gucci’s counterfeiting claim, noting “courts have uniformly restricted trademark counterfeiting claims to those situations where entire products have been copied stitch-for-stitch.”
In an eloquent twist, Scheindlin quoted Oscar Wilde, who described fashion as “a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” According to WWD, Scheindlin wrote, “With the instant disputes now resolved, and with Gucci’s entitlement to the relief noted above, it is my hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather than spilling over into the courts.”
According to WWD, Hudson + Broad, a visual merchandising and branding firm, has filed suit in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court against J.C. Penney Co. Inc. The major retailer must answer the complaint, filed on April 26th, within 21 days. The suit alleges breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets and is focused around the oversized Plexiglas LED squares that Hudson + Broad designed as merchandise icons for J.C. Penney’s campaign named “Fair and Square.” According to James Maharg, president of Hudson + Broad, “Top level executives at J.C. Penney, including those who report directly to chief executive officer Ron Johnson, asked Hudson + Broad to develop a unique fixture with the promise that the proprietary product, if accepted, would only be ordered from Hudson + Broad and that the concept would not be misappropriated and bid out to other manufacturers.” Maharg further told WWD, “Yet J.C. Penney is doing exactly what it promised it would not do — which is a huge disappointment from a company claiming ‘Fair and Square’ as its image.”
According to WWD, the Humane Society of the U.S. has filed a legal petition with the Federal Trade Commission against 11 major retailers for allegedly mislabeling and falsely advertising fur-trimmed products. According to the Humane Society, the retailers advertised various items as being made with “faux” fur when it reality the products contained real animal fur. Jonathan R. Lovvorn, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for animal protection litigation for the HSUS, claims that “there is an epidemic of false advertising in the fur industry.” He adds that, “Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying, but many major retailers just don’t seem to care if consumers are deceived, even though real fur is something many consumers are determined to avoid.”
They say any publicity is good publicity, but that is not always the case.
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has shut down Marc Jacobs’ ad, for its Oh’ fragrance Campaign, as it is just too scandalous. A recent ruling determined that the ad violated both the Social Responsibility and Harm and Offense codes in the UK. It depicts Dakota Fanning wearing a candy pink dress and eyeing the camera seductively, while the 17 year old holds a bottle of the perfume between her thighs.
Who gets to decide when fashion and advertising cross the line? England has burdened the ASA with this job. According to their website, the ASA operates to “ensure ads are legal, decent, honest, and truthful;” and it functions on a complaint and ruling process. The general public is free to make comments and complaints to the ASA website regarding any ad campaign in England.
Kim Kardashian has recently filed suit against Old Navy for unspecified damages regarding an advertisement that she believes intentionally features a look-alike. Kardashian, (pictured left) alleges that Old Navy’s ad campaign was made with an intention to confuse the public into thinking that it was Kim appearing in the commercials and not actress/dancer Melissa Molinaro (pictured right). Kardashian told the Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve worked hard to support the products I’m personally involved with and that I believe in.” Her intellectual property attorney Gary Hecker added, “Kim Kardashian is immediately recognizable, and is known for her look and style. Her identity and persona are valuable. When her intellectual property rights are violated, she intends to enforce them.”
The fashion world seems to be the “newb” when it comes to using gaming as a marketing tool, but “gratz” to the luxury brands and retailers for “making a play” to engage top-tier consumers and build brand loyalty.
According to the March 4, 2011 New York Times article entitled, Gaming Offers a Big Jackpot, if Labels Can Figure Out How to Play, a growing number of luxury brands and retailers have engaged in the “gamification” of the fashion industry. According to Gabe Zichermann, a specialist in the field, defines “gamification” on his website as an, “…industry that brings together game mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems.”
Earlier this month, CaseClothesed reported on Abercrombie & Fitch pushing the envelope a bit too far with padded bathing suits marketed toward girls aged 7 and above.
Earlier this year, Styleite and The Independent reported on a line of cosmetics. The cosmetics are aimed at girls aged eight to twelve years old. That’s not what is odd, the problem is that it is a line of anti-aging cosmetics. The line is eco-friendly, all-natural with anti-oxidants. The anti-oxidants allow the company to claim that molecules cannot over produce.
As a student in the Intellectual Property Advertising Law Class, I learn from an employee of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. Therefore, I must question two different portions of this advertisement. First and foremost, is this misleading advertising? Do anti-oxidants really prevent aging? And if so, can they do so in eight year old skin? Additionally is this inappropriately targeting children with an adult issue?
The line of make up will be available at Wal-Mart. Being that Wal-Mart is one of the largest chain of retail in the world, they have a large impact on how middle America thinks.
The price of the make up is under $5.99 and sports names such as J4G (‘Just For Grins’) and QTPi (‘Cutie Pie’) to FYEO (‘For Your Eyes Only’) and URA* (‘You Are A Star’).
In the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, Michael Kors filed a claim against, Oatt, a company that produces inexpensive graphic-print T-shirts. MK claims Oatt copied elements of a newspaper advertisement containing MK’s products and reproduced it on garments as a mock newspaper advertisement. Michael Kors is suing for infringement of design features and trademarks of the products shown in the copied advertisement. But there is more.
Gawker.com reported that the December 2010 issue of Russian Vogue contains an actual media player embeded into magazine ad for Bacardi’s vermouth brand, Martini & Rossi, flaunting it’s newly launched spirit Martini Gold by Dolce & Gabbana. See the ad here. The ad features a movie shot by Swedish director Jonas Okerlund, staring Monica Bellucci – It may not be HD (yet), but it does include sound too!
Welcome to the digital community Mr. D & Mr. G!!! It’s great to see more of the originators of iconic fashion becoming modern advertising artisans – adding new media to the designers’ array of accomplishments in attire.
Ralph Lauren has said, “I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.”
And he has delivered.
The fashion-stallion’s dreams are likely to earn him the blue ribbon in – Architecture? Art? and Technology? The polo horse has ponied-up to deliver a dramatic digital experience to dazzle customers in London and New York and potentially change the way designers “rein” in business and interact with the consumer.
As reported by the New York Times, Wednesday night, in celebration of the brand’s introduction of their e-commerce business in Britain, London’s Ralph Lauren store, seemed “… to vanish from sight. Then, in the empty space, the mansion on London’s New Bond Street… re-emerged brick by brick, until the facade opened, filled by giant, striding models, four stories tall, their rose-patterned skirts then morphing into beds of flowers.” The show will eventually “trot” across the pond to one of Ralph Lauren’s New York stores.