According to WWD, François-Henri Pinault shot back today against accusations that his luxury group supports plagiarism at a press conference following the publication of PPR’s 2011 results. Pinault was addressing the accusations Louboutin made to French daily Libération, where Louboutin compared PPR to counterfeiters and claimed the group was trying to destroy his independent label. Pinault responded to the accusations by indicating his confidence that Yves Saint Laurent would win the right to continue selling shoes with red soles in the ongoing case against Christian Louboutin. According to the PPR chairman and chief executive officer, “We won the first proceedings in quite precise, clear terms and I am therefore very confident with regard to this case, even if I regret it, because these are two great houses and I think we have better things to do than to fight in court over a question of color.”
In 2009, Gucci America Inc. filed suit in federal district court in Manhattan against Guess Inc. for alleged trademark infringement. According to WWD, a federal district court judge in Manhattan has denied Guess Inc.’s request to dismiss and is allowing certain claims of Gucci America Inc. to proceed. Included among those claims allowed to proceed are regarding a “script Guess logo” and a claim over a “green-red-green stripe” which are proceeding due to the existence of material factual issues. However, the district court judge did rule in Guess’ favor regarding some of Gucci’s dilution claims. These claims involve the “Square G” and “Quattro G” designs. The judge ruled that Gucci failed to provide any credible evidence to raise any issue that actual dilution has occurred so those claims against Guess were dismissed.
Monica Botkier certainly does not agree. As previously noted, Botkier, the contemporary womenswear brand that was launched in 2004, has filed a cease and desist letter against Sears Holding Co., the major retailer of Kardashian Kollection. Monica Botkier, the handbag designer for the brand, is alleging that the particular bag in question- the Kardashian’s leopard print faux leather purse with slanted pockets and draw string sides, (pictured right), is a knock off of her own “Trigger Clyde” satchel which debuted in Fall 2009, (pictured left).
According to PRNewsWire, Tony Duquette, Inc., has filed suit against J. Crew Group, Inc. for trademark infringement and other causes of action. Tory Duquette, Inc.is a high-end home design, furniture, and jewelry firm. The firm alleges that J. Crew infringed on Tony Duquette’s trademark and created unfair competition when it produced a leopard-print cardigan and called it “Duquette Leopard Print Sweater.”
The Tony Duquette, Inc. trademark claim is not solely based on the fact that J. Crew used the Duquette name on its sweater, but it also used Duquette’s image. In the 1950s, Duquette was known for using leopard print designs on fabric, clothing, carpet, wallpaper, and furniture. The print has become a symbol of the brand and its designs. Now, the firm fears that its mark is connected to J. Crew. According to WWD, the J. Crew sweater and the Duquette name have been linked together in more than 150,000 online searches! It’s no surprise that J. Crew has changed the name of its sweater to exclude the Duquette name!
In addition to the trademark infringement claim, Tony Duquette, Inc. is concerned with its exclusive licensing agreement with Jim Thomson, Inc. Tony Duquette, Inc. has a license to provide Jim Thomson, Inc. with a collection of woven and printed textiles, which includes a signature leopard print pattern! It also has an agreement with Roubini, Inc. for carpets and tapestries in Duquette’s signature leopard print.
Tony Duquette, Inc. may have a trademark infringement claim against J. Crew for the use of its mark on their sweater. However, the company probably does not have a claim towards the leopard print sweater itself- as reports state that J. Crew created the print and as it is highly unlikely that a court will find that this leopard print is trademark protected.
Scott Kay isn’t your typical jewelry designer. As a self-proclaimed jock who grew up in upstate New York, Kay got into jewelry after picking up a lug nut off the street and retooling it into a ring. But has his inspiration dwindled away? According to NationalJeweler.com, Tacori Enterprises filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order and made a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent further sales of Scott Kay’s newest collection. Tacori alleges that the Heaven’s Gates Collection, which incorporates a repeating crescent design, infringes it’s copyrights and trade dress in bridal jewelry. Furthermore, Tacori sought to bolster the application with claims that its sales of rings with the Reverse Crescent design have exceeded $17.5 million, were featured in a nationally recognized trade journal in May 2009, and that the company has spent over $2.27 million advertising the rings in national magazines.
MGA Entertainment Inc. has filed a suit against Mattel Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles. The suit claims, among other things, anticompetitive and antitrust conduct, and unfair business practice. “The purpose of Mattel’s anticompetitive conduct, specifically monopolizing and attempting to monoplize the fashion doll market, was to eliminate or suppress the competition, mainly MGA, and effectively deprive fashion doll purchasers of the choice of buying from a Mattel competitor, including MGA. Accordingly, Mattel’s conduct has served to reinforce its fashion doll monopoly, and to impair the ability of MGA and others to compete in the relevant fashion doll market. Consumers are effectively deprived of choice and price competition.” The complaint, filed Thursday claims Mattel attempted to overthrow MGA’s Bratz dolls because of the popularity of the Bratz dolls over Barbie. MGA claims Mattel has broken into MGA’s showrooms, rearranged retail displays, paid retailers to not buy MGA products, and bullied licensees.
One of my favorite purses, the Givenchy Nightingale, is seeking trade dress damages against the “Rembrandt” purse made by BCBG. Givenchy claims that the Nightingale’s trade dress is very specific and that BCBG’s ‘knock-off’ version deliberately copies theirs “line-by-line and stitch-by-stitch” describes Milord & Associates, P.C. In order for Givenchy to succeed in a trade dress claim, they must demonstrate that BCBG copied the nonfunctional elements of the Nightingale purse and demonstrate that the public specifically recognizes the trade dress to be that of the Givenchy Nightingale. Givenchy is seeking both monetary damages and an injunction prohibiting BCBG from further sales of the Rembrandt purse.
We’ve all heard about how protective brand managers can be when it comes to protecting their marks, but Lyons Partnership, L.P, owners of the Barney (R) characters marks, and HIT Entertainment Inc., owners of the Bob the Builder(R) character, won the jackpot in their suit against Razzle Kidazzle, Linda Lippo, All in One Entertainment, John Albuja and D & L Amusement and Entertainment, Inc. Not only were the plaintiffs awarded statutory damages, attorneys fees and costs, they were also granted a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants from “(a) purchasing, distributing, displaying, selling, offering to sell, renting, offering to rent, and/or using adult-size costumes depicting the Barney(R), Baby Bop(R), BJ(R), and Bob the Builder(R) characters; (b) using Plaintiffs’ copyrights, trademarks, service marks, logos and trade dress, or any copy, counterfeit or imitation of any of them in any manner, and (c) committing or inducing others to commit any other infringing acts calculated to cause purchasers to believe that Defendants’ adult-size costumes are Plaintiffs’ genuine products.” Lyons Partnership, L.P. v. D & L Amusement & Entertainment, Inc.702 F.Supp.2d 104
Most people are familiar with the unique costumes worn by the Chippendale’s dance troupe, namely a collar with a bow tie and shirt cuffs absent a shirt. In 2000 Chippendales sought registration of the mark in connection with live adult entertainment services, based on acquired distinctiveness. In 2003 Chippendales sought to register the mark again but this time based on inherent distinctiveness. The PTO denied registration based on inherent distinctiveness but granted it based on secondary meaning. The mark has since achieved incontestability status. Not one to give up, Chippendales again filed in 2005 to register the mark based on inherent distinctiveness and was again denied.
For anyone who doesn’t recognize that quote, it’s from the movie My Cousin Vinny. In that scene, Judge Chamberlain Haller questions attorney Vinny Gambini, who shows up, in let’s just say an inappropriate suit for the courtroom.
Today, celebrities and layman alike are entering the courtroom in less formal attire. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Opening Statements: What to Wear to Court, the way you dress might make a difference. Although dressing a certain way won’t guarantee a win, it does make an impression, especially on the jurors. The article points out that jurors have hours to stare at you, and take notice of everything. Some judges have even imposed sanctions on inappropriate dressers. As recently as this summer, a woman wearing a T-shirt with an “offensive message” was held in contempt of court and jailed, and a man was turned away from a courtroom for wearing black jeans.