Fashion Design

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The Designer Formerly Known As…Intellectual Property Issues Arising From Personal Names As Fashion Brands

Kate Spade, Paul Frank, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, and Karen Millen—aside from being well-known designers, all have something else in common; they no longer own the right to use their personal names as their brands....more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2017

A Smooth Patch in a Rough Road? Governmental Transition and Intellectual Property - Whenever a new Congress convenes, some IP issues come to the fore while others take a back seat. Transition to a new administration in...more

It’s in the Bag: True Parody Cannot Dilute Famous Mark

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a grant of summary judgment that a canvas tote bag with a drawing of an iconic handbag printed on its side did not infringe or dilute the trademark of the iconic high-end...more

The Power of the Melody Pushes Fashion Forward

The many genres of music – particularly, rock, pop, hip-hop and country – have always pushed the needle forward in fashion. Musical icons from today and yesteryear have given a voice to fashion by creating a kinetic...more

New York Fashion Week: A Lineup of The Most Fashionable Trademark and Copyright Claims

It’s that time of the year again when New York City becomes the most fashionable place on the planet. While I would argue that Manhattan is always fashionable, New York Fashion Week adds a bit of extra excitement, glamour and...more

The Supreme Court’s Fashionable Case: Implications for Expanding Copyright Protection to Apparel

Currently before the United States Supreme Court is the question: “[w]hat is the appropriate test to determine when a feature of the design of a useful article is protectable under § 101 of the Copyright Act.”1 Put another...more

Second Circuit Upholds Parody Defense, Tosses Louis Vuitton’s Trademark Suit

In late December, the Second Circuit issued a ruling in Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A., v. My Other Bag, Inc., affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment for claims of trademark infringement and dilution of a...more

Remedies for IP infringement: when additional damages aren’t

Australia’s Designs Act provides courts with a broad discretion as to the relief that may be granted for infringement. The specific heads of relief that are outlined (in a non-limiting way) in s75 of the Act include...more

Commercial Division Rejects Employers’ Plea For Trade Secret and Trademark Protection

When employees resign, the scope of the trade secret doctrine often defines the relationship between former employers and their employees. Trade secret misappropriation claims frequently overlap with other claims arising out...more

Clothes Make the Man; They Sometimes Make the Trademark

Costumes and uniforms may be distinctive of a business, and thus may function as a trademark or service mark, identifying the business and distinguishing it from other business....more

Some Like It Infringed? Monroe Estate Continues Intellectual Property Battles Despite Lack of Publicity Rights

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016 the estate of Marilyn Monroe filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Fashion Central. The Monroe Estate claims that Fashion Central infringes its intellectual property...more

Marmots and Mammuts Living in Harmony?

Taking a spin through REI for a jacket yesterday, I happened upon a Swiss outdoor clothing brand that is a new one to me, called Mammut...more

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

The closely watched case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands was argued in front of the the Supreme Court on Monday, offering anxious fashion designers a glimpse into how the Justices may rule. ...more

Is a Cheerleading Uniform’s Design Separable from its Utilitarian Aspects and Therefore Copyrightable? - Star Athletica V....

On October 31, 2016, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Star Athletica V. Varsity Brands. At the core of the case is whether the design of a cheerleading uniform, including patterns, graphics and colors,...more

Court Holds That Fashion Designer Karen Millen Cannot Use Her Name in Connection with Future Clothing Lines

A recent UK court held that Karen Millen, a fashion designer and co-founder of the Karen Millen brand, was prohibited from using her name, KM or K.Millen or any other confusingly similar names in connection with clothing and...more

LVL XIII and Louis Vuitton Go Toe-To-Toe Over Toe Plates

In a previous post, we discussed Louis Vuitton’s unsuccessful lawsuit against My Other Bag, Inc., in which the “parody defense” was a key issue. Louis Vuitton is making trademark law news again – this time as a...more

Trendy Shoemaker Cannot Slay the Fashion King

Plaintiff LVL XIII Brands Inc. (“LVL XIII”) must not have heard of the old saying: “Never strike a king unless you are sure you shall kill him.” The New York start-up sneaker company decided to take on fashion king Louis...more

Trade Dress Claim Based on Shoe’s Rectangular Metal Toe Plate Booted by SDNY

The Southern District of New York recently booted shoe manufacturer LVL XIII Brands, Inc.’s trade dress infringement suit against Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. in LVL XIII Brands, Inc. v. Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A.. At issue...more

Trade Dress Infringement: Ivanka Trump Sued for Stepping on Aquazzura’s Toes

On June 21, 2016, Aquazzura Italia SRL (“Aquazzura”), an Italian shoe company, filed a complaint against Ivanka Trump, IT Collection LLC, Marc Fisher Holdings LLC, and M.B. Fisher LLC (collectively, the “Defendants”) for...more

“In-Season Relevancy” Is in Season this September

The fashion industry is at a crossroads. Designers must decide whether to continue the age-old tradition of previewing their collections during Fashion Week four to six months before they are available in stores (with fall...more

Alibaba Wins Dismissal of RICO Claims Asserted by Eight Luxury-Brand Plaintiffs

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (“Alibaba”) is making headlines once again with its recent victory in New York federal court. Notorious for allegedly enabling the sale of counterfeit products on its...more

Rio 2016: Out Counterfeiting the Counterfeiters

The Rio Olympics have decided that the best way to fight counterfeiters is to beat them at their own game; counterfeit themself. That’s not entirely true. Of course, you can’t really counterfeit what you own the rights to,...more

Business Litigation Report - July 2016

Article: Increase in Vertical Price Restraint Enforcement in China - In recent months, Chinese anti-monopoly enforcement actions scrutinizing and penalizing pricing-related issues have noticeably increased. A growing...more

Supreme Court to Clarify Test for Copyright Protection of Useful Articles

On May 2, 2016, the Supreme Court granted certiorari from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to resolve a multi-circuit split over “the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is...more

The Implications of Trademark Infringement Decisions: Aw “Chucks”

There is a growing population of fashionistas and #sneakerheads skyrocketing the sales of fashion retailers and traditional sneaker companies, such as @Nike and @Converse. Forbes contends that sneakerheads represent...more

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