In January Burberry filed a complaint against a group of Chinese internet counterfeiters for use of 22 distinct types of goods bearing Burberry trademarks. Defendants, owners of websites such as yesburberryvision.com and buyburberry.com, not only failed to appear in court but they also failed to answer Burberry’s complaint resulting in an award of $100 million to Burberry as well as any money held by Paypal Inc. Burberry was also awarded a permanent injunction transfering ownership of the domain names to them allowing them to prevent others from doing business with the defendants.
The time for a reactive approach to combating counterfeits is long gone. All brands, whether luxury or mass market, domestic or international, emerging or established, need to take proactive measures to ensure brand protection.
Fashion houses and branded organizations pour money into investigating and litigating to prevent counterfeiting as businesses suffer global estimated losses of $600 billion, according to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. However, relying solely on in-house investigations or local law enforcement is just not enough. Federal agencies (ICE and IPRC) and Major League Baseball teamed up, and won, in a recent counterfeit bust.
Chanel is taking a stand against counterfeit goods. With over 700 trademarks registered with the Patent and Trademark Office, this high-end brand is bound to attract some knockoffs. The brand recently filed a cyberpiracy and trademark infringement lawsuit against 399 websites the company accuses of selling products with the luxury retailer’s name.
Vivienne Westwood won an action against Anthony Edward Knight in London’s Patents County Court. Westwood sued Knight because his clothing company, Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die, used images and designs similar to Westwood’s Destroy image and Let It Rock slogan. Judge Colin Birss found Knight to be “engaged in trademark infringement and passing off. In some cases he has also infringed the claimant’s copyright”. Knights use of designs similar to Westwood’s trademarks could confuse consumers. The judgment can be found here and a discussion of the issues can be found here.
The photo to the left displays the protected Destroy image involved in the lawsuit worn by Westwood. All Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die images and websites have since been removed so unfortunately we cannot compare for ourselves.
A million and a half people is a lot of people to be in any place, especially in a law suit.
New York Law school alumnus, Elura Nanos and Michele Sileo, both class of ’99, run an amazing tutoring service which I have used and love. They have recently created a wonderful video helping to explain Wal-mart’s class action suit. Their website can be found here, it is called “Let’s Lawyer Up.”
The short version is that on March 29th, Wal-Mart’s class action lawsuit began and marked the largest gender discrimination case in U.S. history. The plaintiffs in the case had all been intimately involved in this case for at least ten years, and experienced gender-based injustices regarding salary, promotions, and work-place discrimination. Wal-Mart’s argument is that a million and a half people is too many people. All I can say is good luck with that Wal-mart.
Following John Galliano’s anti-semitic ranting and raging in a Paris bar, he’s lost his role as head designer at Christian Dior, not to mention the support and respect of people both inside and outside the industry including Dior spokesmodel Natalie Portman. But, as Reuters reports, he’s now got the domain name galliano.fr under his control (his temper, on the other hand…)
Gap may not be the only company facing accusations of copying photographs from the Internet and using them on their clothing without permission from the photographers. Last week, one of our writers posted an article discussing Gap’s use of a photograph taken by Chris Devers. Devers took a photo of an old Jaguar and published that photo on Flickr Photostream. Soon after, that image appeared on Gap’s “Thermal Body Double” Onesie. The two images are so similar that it will be hard for Gap to argue that it did not derive that image from Devers’ photo. It’s the same image- an identical vehicle with a yellow circle at the top left corner of the vehicle.
I came across an interesting article about the female rapper, Nicki Minaj. She markets herself as the Hip Hop Barbie. Mattel owns the Barbie toy brand. The writer of the article and myself, do not understand how Mattel has not taken legal action against Minaj for trademark infringement. While I do not think they would prevail, it is surprising that Mattel has been quiet considering their love for Barbie and their many past lawsuit, good and bad, all to protect the Barbie trademark.
Allegedly, a new fashion blog called, “TheCoveted.com” has stolen its name from an already established fashion blog called “The-Coveted.com.” The-Coveted.com is a fashion blog that focuses on Jennine Jacob’s personal style. Does the “-” amount to a lawsuit?