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Utility Patents in Fashion Design? Nike & Huzu Innovate The Way

Edited by Catherine Holland   What is a Utility Patent? Utility patents cover a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.  Design patents are much more common in the fashion industry since design...more

Tatcha v. Too Faced: What Shade is your Trade Dress?

Newcomer to the luxury cosmetics marketplace, Tatcha LLC (“Tatcha”), recently made a splash by filing a trade dress infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Too Faced Cosmetics LLC (“Too Faced”), a...more

Tiffany Wins the Generic Battle, and the Spoils of War are Significant (Updated)

Update: U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain has awarded Tiffany & Co. $11.1 million in treble profits and $8.25 million in punitive damages. Judge Taylor Swain wrote in her opinion that Costco’s management “displayed...more

Catching Counterfeits: Customs Recordation and IP Enforcement

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), the primary federal agency responsible for securing America’s borders, is also charged with the protection of intellectual property rights and guarding against the infringement of...more

What the *TM*?!?! The Disparagement Clause has been Bleeped.

Trademark law is an important form of protection for the fashion and beauty industry. It protects both brand owners and consumers by regulating the registration of brands, or source identifiers, of fashion and beauty...more

Meow- Copycat Fur and Bows - Forever 21 Stares Down Puma

As discussed in our previous blog post Puma Treads New Territory Hitting Forever 21 with Copyright Allegations after the Supreme Court’s Star Athletica Decision, Puma sued Forever 21 for design patent infringement, trade...more

How to Avoid Mutilating Your Trademark

In a recent precedential decision, In re University of Miami, Serial No. 86616382 (T.T.A.B. June 6, 2017), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “TTAB”) clarified the scope of the doctrine of trademark mutilation....more

Can’t Say “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” for Copying Me

On June 1, 2017, noted music and fashion photographer Danny Clinch filed suit in the Southern District of New York in connection with the use of two photographs of famed rapper Tupac Shukar (“Tupac”) on t-shirts. The...more

The Top Hits: Fashion Cases with a Big Impact

Over the last year, there have been some significant trademark and copyright cases in the fashion industry. Below are summaries of recent cases all brand owners should know and understand. These cases touch on important...more

Is Trademark Use in Google AdWords Trademark Infringement?

Does the use of Google AdWords amount to the advertising, promoting, marketing, or offering for sale of goods covered by a registered trademark? Tipsy Elves, LLC. vs. Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc. is the latest in a string of...more

Shoe Maker Buscemi Sues J/Slides for Design Patent Infringement

Buscemi, LLC (“Buscemi”) filed for a design patent on June 2, 2016. In March 2017, while the patent application was pending, Buscemi alleges that it became aware that Styleline Studios International and JSL Studio...more

Have You Been Duped?

In the fashion and beauty world, the copying of higher-priced brands is widespread. While in fashion, the term for copies of designer products is “knockoffs,” in beauty, the term is “dupes.” Whether it is a colloquial use of...more

Urban Outfitters Hit with Willful Copyright Infringement

On April 4, 2017, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Urban Outfitters and Century 21 (collectively “Urban”) were liable for willful infringement of a copyrighted fabric design owned by Unicolors Inc. Unicolors is a Los Angeles...more

RED GOLD for Jewelry: Obviously Generic (Or Maybe Not…)

On March 24, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the term “red gold” may not be a generic term for jewelry and watches, and thus, may serve as a trademark. Specifically, the Ninth Circuit found...more

Puma Treads New Territory Hitting Forever 21 with Copyright Allegations after the Supreme Court’s Star Athletica Decision

On March 31, 2017, Forever 21 was sued by Puma over its “Fenty” line of shoes. The “Fenty” label has become popular, in part, due to the influence of music artist, Rihanna as the label’s brand ambassador. In its complaint,...more

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

The U.S. Supreme Court issued their opinion on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands on Wednesday, March 22. Should fashion designers rejoice or be fearful? That depends. Designers who repeatedly have original fashion designs...more

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’: Trade Dress and the Distinctive Look of a Boot Sole

Airwair, the owner of the Dr. Martens brand, recently launched a series of lawsuits in the Northern District of California to enforce the trade dress of its “iconic boots and shoes.” One lawsuit was filed in October against...more

Curiouser and Curiouser: Copyrights and Trademark Rights are Not Perfect Reflections

Much like the world of Underland created in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice Through the Looking Glass, the blurring between copyright and trademark rights can create a topsy-turvy universe....more

Just Like You and Me: Difficulties with Celebrity Trademark Applications

Under U.S. trademark law, any person (including a celebrity) can obtain a trademark registration for their name if they can establish that the public recognizes the name as a source identifier for certain products or...more

Influencer Marketing: The FTC's Evolving Policies on Paid Promotion Disclosure

Rapid Growth of Influencer Marketing - With more consumers cutting the cord to their TVs and paying for premium subscriptions or ad blockers to avoid advertising, social media has become an important medium through which...more

2017 Brings Issuance of New Design Patents for the Fashion Industry

It is well known among patent attorneys that design patents are an under-utilized form of protection in the fashion and beauty industry... ..Design patents should always be considered for timeless and iconic pieces or...more

The Apple May Not Fall Far from the Fashion Industry

In 2011, Apple sued Samsung alleging among other things that various portions of Samsung smartphone products infringed claims of certain design patents owned by Apple (Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.). In 2012,...more

Disparaging (or Maybe Not) Trademarks: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on In Re Tam

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether the Lanham Act’s provision refusing federal trademark registration to disparaging marks is invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First...more

It’s a Game Winning Shot but Far from a Slam Dunk: Michael Jordan Obtains Partial Victory in Chinese Courts over Use of His Name

In December 2016, China’s Supreme Court held that a Chinese manufacturer named Qiaodan Sports Company, could not continue to produce athletic shoes, clothing and gear bearing the trademark (see article), which is the Chinese...more

Using Pop Culture References in Advertisements? Just Do It Right

In this age of smartphone cameras and hashtags, an impromptu remark or a right place-at-the-right-time snapshot can “go viral” and create instant and immense goodwill. Businesses today use social media as a tool to promote...more

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