According to WWD, a Chinese court has ruled that a China-based clothing maker is legally allowed to use the words “Chivas Regal” on its manufactured apparel. This recent trademark battle follows the lost appeal made by Hermès to the China Trademark Appeal Board a few weeks ago. According to state media, Hermès failed in its attempt to register the Chinese version of its name, Ai Ma Shi in pinyin, because a Chinese company, the Dafeng Garment Co. of Guangdong, had already done so. Apparently, Chinese speakers refer to Hermès by that name and Hermès argued that therefore they should be allowed to register it, but the trademark board disagreed. These two cases are bringing to light the growing intricacies of branding in the Chinese market.
To give an update of Stephanie’s blog about the “Together Bag,” according to Racked.com, Hermes got wind of their venture and is now suing the company, “Thursday Friday.” The lawsuit is based on a trademark infringement claim.
While the idea seems practical, and kind of humorous, Hermes isn’t laughing. They believe Thursday Friday is “riding on their reputation” and “confusing, misleading, and deceiving the public.” I agree with Stephanie, that there appears to be no outright trademark infringement, being that the “infringing bag” does not have the Birkin trademark on it.
However, most multimillion, luxury brand companies sue on every big and small infringement case, no matter how laughable. This is done in order to scare away other possible infringers and let the world know that they are in control and plan on protecting their trademark. What do you think the outcome will be?
In the past few months, we’ve reported on LVMH’s potential takeover bid for Hermès International and Hermès’s retaliatory moves. The latest in this French drama was reported by WWD last week.
According to WWD, France’s stock market regulator has agreed to exempt Hermès from buying out minority shareholders while attempting to maintain control over the company. Since our initial reporting on this story, LVMH increased its Hermès stake from 17.1 to 20.2 percent. However, despite evidence to the contrary, LVMH’s Arnault remains committed to the proposition that LVMH is not in the market for total control of Hermès.
Hermès’s creation of a nonlisted holding company containing more than 50 percent of its capital in response to LVMH’s share acquisition, normally, would require it to make an offer for the remaining shares.
According to WWD, Hermès, in retaliation of a potential takeover by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has set up an irrevocable holding company for more than 50 percent of the company’s share capital. Hermès decided to create this holding in the hopes that it would significantly reduce the chance of LVMH from gaining a majority stake in the company and pursuing a takeover.
Last October, LVMH revealed that it had acquired a 17.1 percent stake in the company. This announcement sparked fear in Hermès of a potential takeover by LVMH, as LVMH acquired the stocks by stealth. On Friday December 3, 2010, the Dumas, Puech, and Guerrand branches (approximately consisting of 70 inheritors of the Hermès family) met to discuss options on how to use their combined 73.4 percent. The option chosen was to create a holding company that would be closed to outside investors and would hold all of the family’s interests in the company.
While the holding company has been established, an issue still remains with the company’s minority shareholders. Regulations in France require that “any entity that gains control of more than a third of shares launch an offer.” If in creating a nonlisted holding company, the family members had to group their shares into a bloc, the bloc would surpass more than a third of capital or voting rights. Thereby, entitling the minority shareholders to a public offering for the company.
Hermès still has to wait approval from the French market authority (AMF). AMF has already launched an investigation into LVMH’s investment. LVMH was required to declare stock purchases if it exceeded 5 percent of the share capital. LVMH has exceeded that amount by 12 percent.
A shareholder is an individual or institution that owns shares of a public or private corporation. They are granted special privileges including those of a voting and monetary nature.
Well this week… Hermes and J. Crew’s shareholders are not happy.
French high fashion house Hermès has draped and accessorized the highest of high society since 1837, but 2010 has seen the brand targeting an unlikely consumer – your children. Fellow blogger Ashly previously wrote about the release of the Hermès coloring book – a good way to “start them young.” Now, in similar fashion, the brand has released a viral video showcasing its most recent collection in a most unusual way – by incorporating a fingerboard.
While I found the video itself to be very entertaining and innovative, commentators on Hypebeast.com, one of the many sources of the video, had some interesting concerns with this type of brand advertising. Some commentators failed to see connection between Hermès and skateboarding and dismissed it as being a desperate attempt to capitalize on youth culture. Others had shared some more “interesting” theories behind the video. As one commentator stated,
I personally don’t think fashion marketing media focuses on targeting certain consumer demographic by literal representation. By that I mean, Hermes probably isn’t focused on attracting skaters per se. Otherwise, we might as well also admit that Ralph Lauren is focusing on selling his clothes to equestrians and polo players.
I personally think brands such as Hermes, which must target currently affluent older demographic, use this type of marketing to develop/attract the younger (not necessarily skaters) consumer base. Basically, as their current consumer base of old rich people get older and deader, they have to replace them with younger people. So this commercial is to prevent losing the younger generation of consumers to other current younger generation of high end brands that these kids aspire to obtain (imagine higher end visvim bags and belts in the future). So, no they are not “selling” to skaters but they are selling the “idea” of skating and younger culture to attract those rich young [gentlemen].
I am curious to hear what this “older, affluent demographic” thinks of this advertisement. Watch the video here and let me know what you think!
Caseclothesed is definitely not unfamiliar with the retail markets’ attempts to “borrow” the famous LV print (see “Do These Spray Can’s Contents Dilute”), nor have we ignored Louis Vuitton’s tenacious tactics in going after the potential infringers (See “Louis Vuitton Strikes Again”)… And just recently you read HERE that the Hell’s Angels are suing Alexander McQueen for trademark infringement.
It’s clearly high time that the “Chic” start to get along with the “Biker Chicks.”
WWD has reported today that LVMH Moët Hennessy could potentially be undergoing investigation for its recent purchase of 17.1 percent share in Hermès International.
AMF, the French market regulator, would be conducting the potential investigation. Due to AMF’s policy on not publicizing its inquiries, we won’t know anything for sure unless the matter appears before a sanctions committee, if necessary. In the meantime, here’s what we do know…
NYMag.com announced the release of the Hermès coloring book, with it’s $130 price tag this morning. Although the price may come across as a little audacious to some, maybe this luxury goods company has the right idea – “Start them young.” What better way to foster consumer loyalty then planting the seed in kindergarten???
I can’t be sure until I have acquired my own copy of the lavish leaves of paper; but I have my doubts about whether, even with its glorious, glossy cover and opulent artwork, the construction of the coloring book justifies such a hefty price tag.
HOWEVER… the price certainly does say a lot about the VALUE of a famous mark, doesn’t it?