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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    Last week we shed some light on that curious impostor Chanel ski masks that fashion sites are labeling as Chanel. This week we are setting the record straight about the Chanel-inspired iPhone cases that are popping up just about everywhere. Derived from images of Chanel's best selling nail polishes, these appear to be yet another product that aims to profit from the name of the established French design house without being authorized to do so.


    So, what's the harm in an iphone case? Well, trademark infringement is likely at issue, as Chanel has registered its mark in a class of goods that includes cell phone accessories. Maybe more interestingly, though, is the idea of infringement stemming from post sale confusion. In accordance with this theory, consumers are not confused about the source of the goods at the time they are buying a product. This describes an ordinary trademark infringement claim. Instead, what is likely at issue here is potential confusion among the general public after the initial sale. One of our go-to legal experts, Sarah Burstein says: 
    It's hard to see any real likelihood of confusion at the point of sale, especially when the cases are being sold for about 1/3 of the price of an actual bottle of Chanel nail polish. But Chanel could still claim infringement based on the theory of post-sale confusion. The theory is, essentially, that even if the initial consumer is not confused, people who see the consumer using the phone case might be. If that sounds like a lot of speculation and conjecture -- well, it is. But an increasing number of courts have accepted post-sale confusion as a valid theory of trademark infringement.
    So, the verdict is: cute iPhone cases but probably an illegal use of Chanel's trademark.  

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    Nicolas Ghesquière is gracing his second magazine cover. After spending a few months shunning the press, the former creative director for Balenciaga appears on the cover of the summer issue of Berlin magazine 032c, due out Tuesday, with actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, his muse. Read some excerpts from the piece below and join in the speculation about what Ghesquière will do next ...


    Ghesquière told 032c: "I'm preparing something, but I have choices to make. I will announce something when I am ready. Now is my time to question interseasonality—it's always the opposite season somewhere in the world—and fashion's need to be global while respecting the environment and local cultures and of course the usual six-month cycle for collections. I may decide to fulfill that mission again, and I'll enjoy it as I always have. Another part of me absolutely wants to break these rules. I may be putting myself in danger, but that's what I want these days. I enjoyed years of extreme comfort at Balenciaga. It's fantastic to harvest that status to explore in new ways, rather than sticking to a routine, even if it was the most comfortable and incredible, I couldn't be in a better position."

    He also said: "Ideally, I’d like to give myself a six-month break, to travel and discover things. I’m not sure it’ll happen because some interesting projects are on the horizon. Given the projects and the offers I have on the table, the trick is to think about what is most inspiring, what can become a new way of working."

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    With the annual CFDA Awards approaching on June 3rd, it is time to get to know this year's nominees. The CFDA, a trade organization and leader in American fashion, awards emerging and established US-based designers each year for outstanding talent in womenswear, menswear and accessories. See a list of all of the nominees here and below, read more about the nominees for this year's award for emerging design in the womenswear category: Cushnie et Ochs, Creatures of the Wind and SUNO. Be sure to check back next week to get to know the menswear nominees. 


    Cushnie et Ochs
    Launched by Parsons grads, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, womenswear design brand Cushnie et Ochs, is hardly a surprising choice for a CFDA trova. While still a young brand, Cushnie et Ochs is a favorite of industry insiders, Hollywood celebs and fashion-forward individuals alike. The NYC-based brand has become known as the go-to for sexy cut-outs and body-con dresses, but the design duo are increasingly demonstrating their range, showing strong tailoring and prints most recently, as well as swimwear. They are being dubbed the next big thing in womenswear and we absolutely concur. 



    Creatures of the Wind
    Chicago-based designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters create whimsical and gleefully eccentric wares for the modern-day woman. Designing and creating out of their basement studio, the two were named runners-up in 2011's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and more recently showed one of their most commercial lines to date. Artisanal detailing and the unconventional pairing of fabrics are part of the duo's appeal since they launched in 2008 and given their increased attention to creating more sellable garments, Creatures of the Wind is quite a strong contender. The design duo was nominated for this same award last year.



    SUNO
    Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis launched their print-friendly brand in 2008 and have since clinched spots as bona fide industry darlings. Their artsy (and often wonderfully clashing) clothes are designed in New York City and produced in New York or often by artisans in Kenya, India, or Peru. The design duo was nominated for this same award last year but lost to Joseph Altuzarra.


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    Chapter 4 Corp., better known as cult-fav. Supreme, has taken it to court over a "parody" tee. The retailer has sued womenswear brand, Married To The Mob's founder, Leah McSweeney for $10 million in a New York federal court stemming from McSweeney's "Supreme Bitch" design. [FYI - Supreme Bitch was McSweeny's first design when she started her company in 2004 and she filed a trademark application for it in January.] Supreme's claims against its unauthorized female counterpart: Trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and common law trademark infringement, among others. Supreme's founder, James Jebbia alleged in his complaint that "McSweeney’s shirts aren’t just trademark appropriation; they’re trying to build her whole brand by piggybacking off Supreme."


    McSweeny has now filed her own claim against Supreme, asking the court to declare that her "Supreme Bitch" design (which has been spotted on singer Rihanna, model Cara Delevingne, and others) is, in fact, non-infringing. In addition to throwing Supreme under the busy for its own trademark infringing ways (think: Louis Vuitton, Coco-Cola, etc.), McSweeny's answer to the suit claims numerous affirmative defenses, namely that the "Supreme Bitch" design is a parody, and thus, protected by the First Amendment. A parody of what exactly? According to court documents, the Supreme Bitch t-shirt "originated as a criticism and parody of the male-dominated and often misogynistic skate culture and Supreme brand. More to come ... until the parties settle, that is. 

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    This past Thursday, Dior Homme's creative director Kris Van Asche held a special showing of his A/W 2013 collection in Beijing, the first time the storied Parisian house has shown outside of Paris. Highlights from the show included world-famous actors such as Huang Xiaoming, Tong Dawei, and Han Geng all in attendance and clad in Dior Homme suits. On stage, or in this case, in the weird descending hallway, Van Asche added a selection of three custom tuxedos for the Chinese market – all of which will be produced locally. 


    Van Asche’s decision to produce a full-scale runway show for the Chinese market is a shrewd move, and something we are likely to see more of in the near future. China’s status as a cash cow for luxury goods makers is nothing new, as we’ve seen scores of brands open flagships throughout the country in recent years. But Dior Homme is taking it one step further by tailoring their product specifically to the Chinese market; not only by giving them their own show, but by working with local manufacturers to produce the garments; using local production to build goodwill and make inroads in new markets is a page taken out of most automotive companies’ playbooks - and is generally a pretty successful tactic. As China demands more and more of our attention, this looks to be the first of many China-specific showings by major luxury brands.

    images courtesy of wwd

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    The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue have teamed up yet again to promote American-based designer. The fashion giants' latest initiative, Americans in China, will help designers foster growth in the Chinese fashion market. It kicks off for the first time ever on June 20th, when the designers behind Proenza Schouler (pictured below), Rag & Bone and Marchesa will attend a cocktail reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, followed by a dinner in their honor hosted by Angelica Cheung, Vogue China’s editor in chief. On June 21st, the brands will show their Fall 2013 collections in fashion shows at the Dynasty City Wall Relics Park at the Great Wall of China.  This initiative follows a couple of other efforts by the CFDA to assist its members in tapping into the Chinese market. Namely, its recent partnership with Shanghaipin.com, the leading and the largest luxury fashion online shopping platform in China, and the launch of its Chinese/American designer exchange program last March.



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    The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released its annual "Special 301" report. This yearly report is the result of a review of the state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement of the U.S.'s trading partners around world, and it is especially relevant in fashion law because it specifies which countries raise concerns due to their intellectual property practices. All the usual suspects regularly make the list, such as China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, for online piracy, counterfeiting, ineffective systems for protecting against unfair commercial use of U.S. IP rights, etc. 


    This year, Spain and Bulgaria are no longer on the report's "Watch List," which means they are providing for stronger standards for the protection and enforcement of IPR than years prior. The countries that are currently on the 2013 Report's "Priority Watch List" include Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela. In this year’s Report, Canada is one of 30 countries on the "Watch List," along with such countries as Israel, Egypt, Mexico and Brazil. Lastly, Ukraine has been named a Priority Foreign Country, marking the first time in seven years that a country is listed in that category. Its placement on the list is due to a "severe deterioration of enforcement" in pirated software and piracy over the Internet. 

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    Kimberly Ovitz will not produce the Fall 2013 collection she showed this past February during New York Fashion Week. The collection received good reviews and the front row was home to some very notable show-goers, including Anna Wintour, Bergdorf Goodman's Linda Fargo, and others. However, as BuzzFeed Fashion's Amy Odell reminds us, "the reality of most fashion lines is that they fail. And Ovitz's is shaping up to be the latest casualty of a brutal industry."


    Ovitz has not elaborated on why she is taking some time off for the next few seasons or why she's not producing the fall line. Some sites are reporting that Ovitz is taking time to work on other ventures, which very well may be true, but as we all know, designers don't produce things when they don't have enough orders. A lack of orders could very well have something to do with Ovitz's collapse. However, sources indicate to BuzzFeed Fashion that her biggest problems run deeper than that. According to BuzzFeed: 

    Ovitz's line is known for minimalist body con dresses and asymmetrical draping. It's like Helmut Lang redux, basically. That's good in a way because her clothes are generally cute and wearable. But why should customers go for her things over Helmut Lang, a great line that's been around for ages and has a lower-priced line that is actually more competitively priced that Ovitz's stuff?

    When Ovitz started, she thought she'd compete with a designer more along the lines of Ralph Lauren than Helmut Lang. But she allowed people to push her in a direction that ultimately wasn't true to who she was. And now sources suggest that she's feeling a bit directionless. Ovitz might be able to refine her aesthetic by taking time off. But it's hard to make a comeback if you've never really made a splash to begin with.

    images courtesy of zimbio, style.com

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    Brit-based footwear and accessories designer Charlotte Dellal and West Coast-based jewelry designer Tom Binns have launched a limited-edition capsule collection just in time for the opening of “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. The collection of shoes and bags debuted yesterday and are exclusively available at charlotteolympia.com and at the Charlotte Olympia stores in Mayfair and NYC. 


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    Model Coco Rocha knows a thing or two about the industry, considering the fact that she's been hitting the runway and gracing magazine covers for nearly 10 years now. She recently spoke out about getting discovered, the benefits of an "ironclad contract," why she wishes models weren't quite so young and more ... 

    image courtesy of visualoptimism

    I came into this business knowing nothing about fashion. I was a young girl from Vancouver, Canada. Becoming a model was never an aspiration of mine, but at 14 I was scouted. After that, I moved to New York where I found the agents I still work with to this day and started down a path that would lead to working with some of the world’s greatest photographers and designers. I was pulled from relative obscurity and given an amazing international life, but it was not without its ups and downs.

    There were times when I was very lonely and felt an enormous pressure from adults around me to give up values and beliefs I held dear. Through trial and error I learned my rights and I learned to stand up for myself. I realized the benefit of an ironclad contract. In my contract today I state that due to my religious beliefs I won’t shoot nude or in sheer clothing, or with cigarettes, weapons or religious icons. Even after nearly 10 years I still I find occasions when clients will push the issue, making it uncomfortable for everyone. It gets better though.

    As I’ve moved from being a girl to a woman, and now a married woman, I feel more and more confident in my own skin every day. It’s something that comes with age and experience, which is why I wish most models would start a little later than the usual 14 or 15-years-old when they are so vulnerable and easily influenced. 



    The reality is, whether I like it or not, most of the modeling work force today is underage, and that’s one reason why I volunteered to join Sara Ziff on the advisory board of the Model Alliance. We believe that models deserve fair treatment in their workplace like any other group of workers. Not only do we aim to establish ethical standards, we also support the enforcement of existing child labor and contract laws, promote financial transparency and redress for issues of sexual harassment.

    The girls who last in this industry, the Behati’s, Doutzen’s and Hilary’s, recognize that modeling is a profession, not a lifestyle. They show up on time, work hard, are respectful to everyone they work with and demand the same respect in return. We tell this to the models who are members of the Model Alliance and we hope to become the big brothers and sisters young models need–not only to discuss common issues and concerns, but to work together to champion a better way.

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    Brooklyn-based Rolex Deli has been hit with another lawsuit by Rolex Watch U.S.A., the U.S. counterpart for the Swiss watchmaker. You may recall that the watchmaker brought suit against the newly-opened deli in late 2011 for trademark infringement, claiming that the sandwich shop's name would cause confusion. The deli has since changed its name to “Roll-x Deli," but the watchmaker still isn't satisfied. Deli owner, Shawqu Ali, is facing $20,000 in civil contempt fines for taking too long to change the name on the store's sign, changing it in March instead of by October as ordered by the court. And in case that isn't enough, Rolex has filed a new suit against Ali, who admits that he chose the original name because he likes Rolex watches. Legal counsel for Rolex argue that the deli's new name will confuse customers into thinking that its products maintain the “quality and prestige” of the world renowned timepieces.


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    Barbara Kruger, the iconic artist who inspired Supreme founder James Jebbia, has spoken out about the pending lawsuit between Supreme and Leah McSweeney and her womenswear/streetwear brand Married To The Mob. Jebbia is suing McSweeney, claiming that her  “Supreme Bitch” design infringes his brand’s trademark. Kruger is relevant in all of this as her red Futura-font, which has appeared in her art since the 1970's, is what inspired Jebbia's Supreme logo. Read what Kruger told Complex below. It's pretty amazing ... 


    Of Supreme and Supreme Bitch, sixty-eight year old Kruger said: "What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I'm waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement."

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    Have you been keeping up with The Fashion Law this week? In case you missed something, here are our top stories just for you!

    About those "Chanel" nail polish iPhone cases. In case you weren't sure, Chanel isn't responsible for the nail polish iPhone cases bearing its trademark. So, we ask: illegal or not?

    Supreme vs. Supreme Bitch. Cult brand, Supreme, has brought suit against Married to the Mob, claiming that founder Leah McSweeney's "parody tee," which bears the words Supreme Bitch infringes Supreme's trademark. 

    An unusual luxury goods counterfeit scam. In one of the most unusual counterfeit scams we've heard in a long time, two Vietnamese were passing off real Gucci goods as fake. Here's why ... 

    Etsy's general counsel talks counterfeits. With quite a bit off counterfeit Givenchy, Celine, YSL, and more goods popping up on Etsy lately, we talked to the company's head lawyer about its IP policy. 

    Another Galliano development. Following the announcement that disgraced designer, John Galliano, will teach a three-day class at Parsons, a petition has been circulating in an attempt to prevent Galliano's visit. Now, supporters of the designer have spoken out and some are pretty big names ... 


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    By Arnold Karr, WWD

    An Italian court has rejected Guccio Gucci SpA’s claim that Guess Inc.’s use of various logos infringed on its trademarks. The decision, which Gucci said it would “surely appeal,” marks a second disappointment in the luxury house’s battle with the Los Angeles-based jeanswear and sportswear maker. Last May, Gucci was awarded $4.7 million in damages by a federal court in Manhattan on ostensibly the same charges, representing a fraction of the more than $221 million sought by Gucci.

    The 83-page verdict was made available Friday. There are ongoing actions by Gucci against Guess in both France and China. The cases have focused on various interpretations of logos involving the letter G on Guess handbags and shoes.

    Paul Marciano, chief executive officer of Guess, commented, “In my opinion, the three-year battle in New York and four years in Milan was a result of massive and unnecessary litigation that should have been easily resolved with a simple phone call, which Gucci never made.” Marciano continued, “The tactics of Gucci are nothing less than bullying. Because of their endless resources, Gucci has been forum shopping all over the world to try and stop Guess from expanding its successful accessories business. It’s fundamentally wrong and unconscionable.”

    Gucci described the use of a number of G-based logos by Guess as “unlawful and parasitic free-riding on Gucci’s trademark and, in general, its brand image.” Gucci said it would “certainly bring an appeal against the above decision, which in its view is potentially dangerous for the protection of the ‘Made in Italy.’ In particular, Gucci will ask that the Court of Appeal entirely set aside said decision, by granting both its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims against Guess.”

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    The subject of our Saturday Style Feature is one seriously chic and successful fashion blogger. You probably know her from her blog, Song of Style. Los Angeles-based Song has that relaxed and nonchalant style (which consists of a lot of half-tucked shirts, cool jeans, slouchy silhouettes, and sick accessories) that has been perfected by so many Californians, and that we just can't get enough of. We also love Aimee for her take on blogging and personal style. She says: "Don't copy other bloggers. You'll find a following just for being you." Check out a few of Aimee's looks for Spring/Summer below...










    images courtesy of songofstyle

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    Launching this month, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners' one-time collaborations with J.Crew. This year's winner is Greg Chait of The Elder Statesman, and runners-up are jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer and footwear designer Tabitha Simmons. Their collections will launch on J.Crew.com on May 22. 
    Elder Statesman knit tank, Jennifer Meyer earrings & Tabitha Simmons sandals

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  • 05/05/13--05:00: Sunday Style with Aimee Song
  • We couldn't get enough of the subject of our Saturday Style Feature, blogger and interior designer Aimee Song, that we are featuring her for one more day. We are lusting after this Los Angeles-based blogger's monochrome looks and her mix-and-match prints. Check out some of our favorite Spring/Summer looks courtesy of Song and let us know what you love and what you're wearing this spring in the comments below. 
















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    It is the weekend and that's when just about anything goes on The Fashion Law. So, of course we have to share this with you, since we live and breathe BluePrint, and because apparently there is now a black market for BluePrint juices ... 


    By Pedro Oliveira, New York Post

    On Friday, a thief impersonating a delivery driver in Queens,  managed to steal about $153,000 worth of high-end drinks from juice giant BluePrint. The stunning heist happened Friday afternoon when the man showed up at the company’s Long Island City facility, signed a shipment slip and used a forklift to load his truck with 13 pallets holding 15,303 bottles, company officials said. “We realized this happened when our real driver showed up a couple of hours later,” BluePrint co-founder Zoe Sakoutis said yesterday.

    The company began as a boutique operation in Chelsea and grew to a $20 million enterprise in just seven years. BluePrint’s drinks, which supposedly cleanse your insides and retail for an average $10, include such flavors as lemon cayenne agave, pineapple apple mint and cashew vanilla cinnamon agave.

    The bottles were meant to be shipped to a facility in Allentown, Pa., where they would have been pressurized before hitting stores. Without the pressurizing, the raw drinks are only good for about five days — instead of the standard 30-day shelf life.

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    Kiera Knightley wed Klaxons musician James Righton on Saturday at a town hall in Mazan, France. Following rumors that Knightley would walk down the aisle in a custom gown by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, fashion blogs are reporting that the dress the actress was photographed wearing upon leaving her civil ceremony was a Chanel creation and thus, a copy of a Rodarte frock she wore at a BAFTA party back in 2008 (see after the break). Chanel may have a history of making some questionable design choices, but the short tulle dress that Knightley is wearing below is too similar to the Rodarte dress in question to be anything but the real thing. On top: the actress wore a Chanel boucle jacket. Our guess: she saved the custom Chanel creation for the second wedding ceremony that took place later that day at a farmhouse in the country, and that we don't have any design piracy on our hands here. 


    Knightley in 2008 (left) & on Saturday (right)

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  • 05/06/13--08:50: Designer Spotlight: Alasdair
  • Sometimes when you can't find what you are looking for in the world of fashion, you have to take matters into your own hands. For April Johnson, the founder of young NYC-based design label, Alasdair, the missing link consisted of easily adaptable, strikingly handsome, big city garments. The birth of Alasdair, which is stocked by Steven Alan, Selfridges, and The Webster, among others, meant a chance for Johnson to create what she refers to as "the New York City girl's uniform." Sexy silhouettes in easy-to-wear fabrics take the form of classic wrap dresses and sweatshirt style tops that boast contrasts of sheer fabrics with cotton, allow any girl to become New York City chic. See more below ...



    Kate Concannon is an experienced fashion and lifestyle writer featured in publications, such as CheapChicas.com, Philadelphia Style Magazine, and Examiner. Her fashion and lifestyle blog, Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra, featured in Time Magazine online, is a spin on all the crazed things women do for the sake of fashion. Follow Kate on Twitter @LSIASB.

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