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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    Last month, Fox Searchlight Pictures was slapped with an unfavorable ruling in its unpaid intern lawsuit, stemming from the production of Black Swan. Fox has been facing a lawsuit (Glatt et al v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc.) since September 2011 when two former Fox Searchlight interns, filed a class action suit, alleging that the company had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law by misclassifying them as unpaid interns and not entry-level employees. Southern District of New York Judge William H. Pauley III ruled in the interns favor last month, holding that Fox did, in fact, misclassify the interns. 

    image courtesy of fanpop

    Well, as of yesterday, Fox is seeking permission to appeal the June ruling (that granted a bid for collective and class action certification from an intern at Searchlight's corporate offices), arguing that the Second Circuit should identify the standard for determining whether unpaid interns are workers entitled to wages. Diana Wang, the former Harper's Bazaar intern, who filed a similar lawsuit against Hearst Corp., also recently sought to appeal the suit to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal, after S.D.N.Y. Judge Harold Baer ruled on Hearst's behalf, holding that Wang and her fellow plaintiffs, failed to show that there was an uniform policy of misclassifying interns, a necessary factor in a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit. More to come ... 

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  • 07/28/13--12:06: Week in Review
  • Before you start your week, you can catch up on all of the fashion law and business of fashion stories that you may have missed from this past week. Here our some of our top stories for your convenience ... 

    Terry Richardson was subpoenaed. The celebrity photographer was ordered by a Manhattan Federal Court Judge to hand over nearly 150,000 pictures he took of Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga during her “Monster Ball” tour in 2011.

    Vogue lost this week. In a bid to gain ownership of a similarly-named website, ICANN (the internet's domain names watchdog) has failed to act on the magazine's behalf. Check out this site and tell us if you'd be confused ... 

    "Parody" tees have always been a bit questionable. But this collection is especially interesting, as it targets Alexander Wang, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Haider Ackermann and more, and the designers may actually be able to sue. 

    Urban Outfitters messed up this time! The often-controversial fast fashion retailer was offering a gang-related t-shirt online and in stores until recently. Turns out, the pitchfork symbol is the Chicago-based gang, Gangster Disciples' logo. Urban pulled the tee, and that was probably a good move since this gang is linked to some recent murders.

    Celebrity clothing lines are still in full force. Here is a list of some of the most recent celebrity-branded collections, just in case you thought this trend was dying down ... 

    images courtesy of tfs, zimbio

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    Which ones of these box clutches does not belong?



    If you chose the one on the bottom right - then you are correct. It appears (from the images above) that our "friends" over at Nasty Gal are Charlotte Olympia fans. Just to get you up to speed, Charlotte Olympia, the British accessories brand (that is just five years old) designed by Olympia Dellal, launched its Pandora Perspex clutch at least three years ago (as it was spotted at Milan mens week in June 2010). Now don't get me wrong, the clear clutch, even the clear box clutch, has been done many times before (Chanel has done it. Fendi, etc.), but it seems that Charlotte Olympia is the genius that put the metallic pouch inside so the world doesn't have to see everything that you're toting around. It hardly comes as a surprise that Nasty Gal is offering a lookalike version (right down to the blue hue and gold pouch) for a fraction of the cost. Don't worry, Charlotte. We know you're the original. Shop the real thing here

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    Another major jewelry heist has taken place in Cannes. In May, about $1 million in jewels was stolen in Cannes, and this time, a staggering $53 million worth of diamonds and other jewels were stolen from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, in one of Europe's biggest jewelry heists in recent years, police said. The hotel was hosting a temporary jewelry exhibit of jewels from the Leviev diamond house, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. According to police, the theft took place around noon on Sunday, but a spokesman could not confirm local media reports that the robber was a single gunman who stuffed a suitcase with the gems before making a swift exit. One expert noted the crime follows recent jail escapes by members of the notorious "Pink Panther" jewel thief gang. Several police officers have since been placed in front of the Carlton exhibition room to prevent journalists and photographers gathered at the scene from entering.

    image courtesy of leviev

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  • 07/29/13--07:55: PINK v. PINK: The Lawsuit
  • The owners of Victoria's Secret have filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against high-end male clothier Thomas Pink, seeking a ruling that its "Pink" line of lingerie doesn't infringe any trademarks. Victoria's Secret's filing (which occured last week), follows LVMH-owned Thomas Pink's May infringement action with the Patents County Court in the UK, accusing Victoria's Secret UK of confusing consumers by selling products under the "PINK" name. According to its complaint, Victoria's Secret is seeking clarification of "the rights of the parties, allowing them to continue the peaceful coexistence that has been in place for many years," and also VS alleges that "the UK action places VS at imminent risk of a suit on the same grounds in the US."


    Interestingly, the lingerie giant's younger collection, PINK, is quite a bit younger than the Thomas Pink brand, which appears to have used THOMAS PINK in the US since 1984. Victoria's Secret, which has a range of PINK-variant registrations, first began using the trademark in 2001. While the dates alone make this case seem like a easy win for THOMAS PINK, the most difficult part of any trademark lawsuit is usually showing likelihood of confusion. Because one of the main functions of a trademark is to prevent consumer confusion as to the source of goods or services, establishing that there is a chance of confusion among the average consumer. Likelihood of confusion is not necessarily measured by actual consumer confusion, but by a series of criteria Courts have established (namely, the 9th Circuit in AMF, Inc v Sleekcraft Boats). These factors include:

    1. Strength of the mark
    2. Proximity of the goods - In this case, both brands are being sold in London
    3. Similarity of the marks (think: the appearance, pronunciation, meaning, and commercial impression of the respective marks) - If the marks are exactly the same in spelling and how they are pronounced (as is the case here), there is a greater chance of likelihood of confusion between them.
    4. Evidence of actual confusion
    5. Marketing channels used
    6. Type of goods and the degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser - This factor is likely a bit tricky in this case. The goods are about the same: clothing (even though they are targeted to different genders), and while I would argue that consumers of THOMAS PINK are sophisticated buyers (due to the luxury and expensive nature of the clothes), I'm not so sure we can say the same about Victoria's Secret PINK, as it is not a luxury brand, such as La Perla and it is geared towards teens.
    7. Defendant's (Victoria's Secret in this case) intent in selecting the mark
    8. Likelihood of expansion of the product lines

    THOMAS PINK (left) & Victoria's Secret PINK (right)
    images courtesy of thomas pink, tfs

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    The Fashion Law Exclusive - Louis Vuitton has not lost its protective edge. The Paris-based design house's U.S. legal team (with the help of outside counsel) has filed suit to protect its world-famous trademark against Sunny Merchandise Corp, Louis Valentin Eyewear, and Chin Zong Tsai. Turns out, Sunny Mercandise has a federally registered trademark, "LOUIS V," that covers eyewear and sunglasses. The California-based company filed its registration in 2009 and was granted federal registration in May 2010. However, Louis Vuitton, which also has a federally registered mark for glasses, sees the similarly-named brand (whose glasses retail for about $20) operating in a manner that aims to profit from Louis Vuitton's established appeal (and we don't blame them - the "Louis V" name is too similar and Louis Vuitton is too famous for this to be a coincidence). As a result, LV filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Friday. 


    The iconic design house, lead by Marc Jacobs, has an array of federally registered trademarks of its own in the U.S. The Louis Vuitton trademark extends to eyewear thanks to a 2004 registration for "spectacles, eyeglasses." The famous Toile Monogram mark (including the LV initials) was federally registered in August 2012, and this covers everything from clothing to jewelry, luggage, cosmetics, and eyewear. One of the brand's earliest marks, registered in late 2004, covers goods made of precious metals, alloys, or coated - this also may help Louis Vuitton's case here, depending on whether its glasses contain such materials. Considering that retail for upwards of $800, there is a good chance, precious metals are used.

    As for how Sunny Merchandise and Louis Valentin was able to register its "Louis V" at all without a fight from LV is a bit puzzling, but considering the size of LVMH and its extensive resources, we likely won't have any judicial guidance in this case. It is probably only a matter of time before the parties settle (if Sunny Merchandise knows what's good for them), because no one really wants to go up against LVMH in court.

    Louis V sunglasses
    images courtesy of tfs, ebay

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    From Kempen, Germany, Yannick Boetzkes was discovered in late 2011, after a friend submitted some shots of him to The Talent Net. Shortly thereafter, he signed on with major agencies in Paris, London, New York, Milan, Berlin and Barcelona, and made his international debut in June 2012. Yannick has walked for Versace, Brioni, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Canali - among others; graced the pages of D Section (with Andreas Brunnhage), GQ, Forbes, and Men's Health; and starred in Reiss' Spring 2014 lookbook and video. We caught up with him to talk about Barcelona, VERSACE, who he wants to work with, and more ... 


    The Fashion Law – How old are you and what's your nationality? 

    Yannick Boetzkes – I am 24 years old and German.

    The Fashion Law – Business today is so much about branding do you feel like models are brands? 

    Yannick Boetzkes – Yes, I think you can look at models as brands. Each model is different and has their own look. You can categorize models into groups of brands, but still everyone is different.

    The Fashion Law – What did you think of modeling before you got started?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I didn't really think of being a model or anything related to modeling. I just knew of a couple of female models, like Heidi Klum, but I wasn't into it.


    The Fashion Law – What has been the highlight of modeling for you so far? Is there a specific job you loved?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I like that I travel a lot throughout the world and meet people I wouldn't have ever met if I wasn't modeling. Also seeing people again that I haven't seen for months is a nice feeling. I almost like every single job I have done so far. I could mention walking for VERSACE during Milan Fashion Week in January was great.

    The Fashion Law – How was this past season for you?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I think it was alright. I worked with Tom Ford in London, did his show and had a chat with him, which was pretty interesting. Canali was a good show I did in Milan. I am quite pleased with what I have done. So, I can't complain.

    The Fashion Law – Do you think there are any downsides to modeling?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I don't think there are downsides for me right now. Some people ask me how I handle all the travel without having all my friends from home around me and staying in different places all the time. I think it is really exciting and I like this way of living now.

    The Fashion Law – Is there a particular designer or design house that you absolutely want to work with?

    Yannick Boetzkes – There are many I want to work with. Too many to list.


    The Fashion Law – What do you like to do when you're not traveling and working?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I like to cook, go running and be in contact with my friends all over the world. Discovering the places where I am currently staying is also an activity I like. I was just in Barcelona and I recommend that everyone go there.

    The Fashion Law – Any recommendations of things to do in Barcelona?

    Yannick Boetzkes – Barcelona has the sea, it has mountains and it has beautiful architecture. I wouldn't recommend just one place to go to visit and do touristy stuff. I think people should just buy a metro card and go around the city. You also have to see a Gaudi building. Besides that just enjoy the city. Go to Nou Camp, go to the east, go somewhere on top of a building and enjoy the view. Walk up the mountain behind the city in the early morning and you'll have a wonderful view even if it is a foggy morning. I can go on talking and tell you where to go but honestly, just buy a metro ticket and start your journey...

    The Fashion Law – Where do you see yourself in the next several years?

    Yannick Boetzkes – Planet Earth.

    The Fashion Law – What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

    Yannick Boetzkes – I will go to NY and sweat at 50° C in August and stay until the temperatures go back to normal.

    The Fashion Law – Last question ... what are you obsessed with right now?

    Yannick Boetzkes – Learning Spanish! More or less. Ask me again in five years for an interview and I will answer in Spanish.

    images courtesy of tfs & tumblr

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    In light of a somewhat recent lawsuit, that may require New York Fashion Week to relocate - for the third time - the Council of Fashion Designers of America, with the help of Mayor Bloomberg, is making a major push for Hudson Yards. Steven Kolb, the CEO of the CFDA, has reportedly been working with the Hudson Yards developers to make sure that the new structure is built with Fashion Week needs in mind.

    image courtesy of selectism


    The yet-to-be-built space, which will serve not only NYFW's housing needs, is tentatively titled the “Culture Shed” (hopefully that is just a temporary name because its awful!), and will be located West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. It will reportedly feature four runways, studios, exhibition space, as well as “a dramatic 140-foot-high canopy that slides along tracks to create indoor and outdoor space” according to WWD. The project is estimated to be completed by 2017. A short walk between off-site locations (such as Milk Studios, Eyebeam, etc.) and the new NYFW location sounds like great news to me!

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    Paris Hilton and her fragrance licensee, Parlux Fragrances, slapped International Perfume Palace Inc. with a trademark, trade dress, and patent (D518,382) infringement lawsuit this past January in a California federal court, claiming that its perfume and body wash packaging for is “identical or confusingly similar” to the Hilton’s products, and would “deceive” an “ordinary observer” into thinking that the Paris Paris design was the same as its design. Hilton and Parlux were seeking maximum damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs. Less than a year later, the parties have settled their claims, according to a California federal judge’s order Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal dismissed the lawsuit against Genesis International Perfume Distributors Inc. with prejudice after the parties settled and stipulated for the case's dismissal. The settlement amount will likely remain undisclosed but considering the array of protections that Hilton and Parlux had over the design at issue (and thus, violations by Genesis), we would guess it was a pretty hefty amount, as well as an agreement by Genesis to immediately and permanently cease all sales of its Paris Paris fragrance products. 

    image courtesy of zimbio

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    On the heels of Fall's less-than-groundbreaking report that 90% of the models used for fashion week were white (in case we didn't already sense the void), Calvin Klein's Fall 2013 ad campaign is breaking the mold. As such, it is newsworthy that three out of the five models shot by Steven Klein (on Yale's campus - FYI) are Asian. Along with Caroline Brasch Nielsen and Matthijs Meel are: Chinese runway star Liu Wen and Korean models Sung Jin Park and Ji Hye Park. See what casting director (and Model Files star) Preston Chaunsumlit has to say about #CHINA$ and Calvin Klein's ad below ... 



    In case you missed it, we featured Preston Chaunsumlit not too long ago. Since, he's an active supporter of diversity within the modeling industry, who better to talk to about Klein's latest ad campaign than Preston. Of the Fall 2013 compaign, he said: 
    I do not think that Calvin Klein did a mostly Asian cast for the sake of diversity. Calvin Klein has been known to have a very "directional" casting towards Caucasian. It's more reflective of our globalised market. Liu Wen has appeared in their campaigns before. Remember #CHINA$$.

    I think it is great to see this diversity, nonetheless. Liu Wen, Sung Jin Park, and Ji Hye Park are great models, and it's great to see them in a prestigious campaign with this large of an audience. It shows it is possible aspiration can be presented in a non-white casting. Hopefully, with this campaign, along with Prada's recent casting of Asian (Fei Fei Sun) and Black (Malaika Firth) models in their ads, these influential luxury brands can set a new direction for the images we see beyond diversity being simply a "trend". We will see.
    So, while racial diversity likely was not Calvin Klein's sole point in casting these big-name Asian models, as it is no secret that China is buying more luxury goods than the U.S. by a lot, it is a step in the right direction, no? 

    images courtesy of calvin klein 

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    Remember when Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the designers behind Proenza Schouler, created a line for Target and then Target copied their signature PS1 bag? Well, that's kind of what we have on our hands here, only this time its Givenchy and Birmingham, Michigan-based boutique, REVIVE. Known for their "high quality engineered clothing," and for "being a pillar of fashion," (their words not mine), REVIVE stocks Balmain, Surface to Air, Junya Watanabe, and Givenchy, among others. Interestingly enough, it appears that REVIVE is quite desperate to tap into the significant appeal of streetwear, hence, its Givenchy basketball jersey and its recently-released Detroit Tigers Verlander baseball jersey, a baseball-style jersey with a Givenchy print.

    While we could discuss how this is a pretty blatant jab at Wil Fry's Givenchy-inspired streetwear movement, that's not the issue here. Putting Wil Fry and design piracy (and/or copyright infringement) aside for the moment, it doesn't take a Wharton grad to see that what REVIVE is doing seems like a poorly thought out move from a business standpoint, as well as a move that screams of flagrant disregard for the Paris-based design house, which REVIVE proudly stocks quite heavily. 


    Unlike those that have introduced Givenchy-inspired wares up to this point, REVIVE differs most significantly because it is a Givenchy stockist. In fact, REVIVE is stocking the printed tee shirt (the $600 Shark & Mermaid tee, pictured below) that it has copied for its baseball jersey. Bold move? Yes. Borderline bad business decision? Most definitely, especially because REVIVE definitely cannot be selling their version for as much as Givenchy demands for its tees. Sounds like a conflict of interest. So, this, if anything, is grounds for Givenchy to stop doing business with REVIVE altogether or at least until they remove the infringing shirts. 

    Yes, Givenchy's creative director, Riccardo Tisci, is a serious streetwear aficionado, and he (and his legal team) seem to have looked the other way quite a bit (in the name of streetwear) with some of the arguably copyright infringing "Givenchy" printed garments out there. However, whether Givenchy will be so forgiving of a boutique that stocks their wares (and appears to be banking on and/or abusing its relationship with the famed design house), we will have to wait and see. But one thing we do know: Nothing says "loyalty" like copying one of the brands you stock and nothing says "greatness" quite like ripping off others' work. Stay tuned ... 

    images courtesy of instagram, revive

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    Just yesterday, we told you that Louis Vuitton filed suit against similarly-named company, Louis V, for trademark infringement. Well, the Paris-based design house's outside counsel has filed two additional trademark infringement lawsuits in a Southern Florida federal court this week against quite a few defendants ... over one thousand to be exact. Infringing domains, such as louisvuittonusa.com and esalelouis.com, are among those commonly sued by Louis Vuitton (and other trademark owners), but these two lawsuits also include a large amount of individual iOffer users. In case you're not familiar, iOffer is a San Francisco-based online trading community that consists almost entirely of China-based sellers hawking fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and just about any designer good you can think of. 

    images courtesy of ioffer

    It is interesting that Louis Vuitton is targeting individual iOffer sellers, such as donna1918, wangwang20120, and happygirl2013, for selling counterfeit accessories, as opposed to iOffer itself. You may recall that  designer brands have targeted online marketplace sites in the past, such as Tiffany & Co. v. eBay, but not individual sellers. 

    While iOffer boasts a seller verification program, I'm not terribly familiar with the information that sellers must provide when signing up on iOffer (aside from the mandatory credit card verification) and thus, the relative ease with which these sellers' actual identities and locations can be determined to force them to show up in court and face their punishment. Also worth noting, iOffer is not associated with PayPal, and so, it is not clear if/how payments may be seized from these sellers if the goods at issue are, in fact, found to be counterfeits. As a result of Operation in Our Sites, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement works with PayPal to attempt to seize funds associated with the individuals selling counterfeit goods. 

    Chances are, the vast majority of the individual seller will not be identified and even if they are, they will not be located. As a result, their individuals shops within iOffer will be shut down (thanks to a court order) and if the Department of Justice, in connection with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, can locate funds that these sellers have amassed from the sale of such counterfeits, they will be turned over the Louis Vuitton. The result of this lawsuit should provide some helpful guidance regarding litigation involving individual online marketplace sellers. More to come ... 

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    Marc Jacobs Spring 2013 (left) & Nasty Gal (right)

    Online retailer, Nasty Gal didn't get its name for nothing. Up to its usual antics of design piracy, design piracy, and more design piracy (mixed with occasional instances of blatant trademark and copyright infringement), the Los Angeles-based retailer has recently released a blatant copy of a Marc Jacobs Spring 2013 design. (It joins the array of Stella McCartney, Michael KorsAlexander Wang, and countless Cushnie et Ochs copies that are currently up for sale on the site). From the black and white stripes to the scallop-hem, the "designers" at Nasty Gal can hardly claim that the "Perfect Balance" dress is their design. Yet, that's exactly what they're doing: pretending that this is their design, as it is being sold under Nasty Gal's in-house label.

    So, while Nasty Gal certainly can hardly deny that this is anything but blatant imitation, they are obviously up on the laws (or lack thereof in the U.S.) like any good brand that profits from the original designs of others. In case you didn't know, in the U.S., most garments are not protected by copyright law (absent an original print or feature), and since stripes aren't quite novel, Nasty Gal is likely in the clear legally. Shame on you, Nasty Gal. You put the U.S. fashion industry to shame! 

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    Spanish fast-fashion retailer, Zara, isn't changing its design piracy ways anytime soon and it is continuing to target young brands. Its latest foray into unoriginal design: its Double Strap Jacquard Pattern dress. From the asymmetrical layers, to the deep V neckline, the wrap-around tie waist, and slim straps/geometric cutouts along the shoulders, the dress is a more-or-less identical version of Kimberly Ovitz's Alban dress. (As a side note, Ovitz may be going out of business). Absent the different hues and the different price tags (Ovitz's originally retailed for $495 and Zara's for $59), the only other difference we can spot is garments' countries of origin. Ovitz's wares are all made in the U.S., while Zara can't exactly say the same. The retailer and its parent company, Inditex, have been in hot water for the past year or so for sweatshop conditions and slave labor stemming from its South American factories and for its use of Bangladesh garment factories linked to the tragedies that have killed over a thousand workers this year alone. In case that's not enough ... 

    Kimberly Ovitz's Alban dress (left) & Zara's Double Strap Jacquard Pattern dress (right)

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    Rihanna won her legal fight against Topshop over the Brit fast fashion giant selling t-shirts bearing her image without her authorization. In a somewhat unprecedented ruling in the UK, Mr Justice Birss ruled in favor of the singer in the High Court today, holding that Topshop's sale of the "Rihanna T-shirt" constitutes an act of "passing off." As a result, Birss stated in a written decision that a "substantial number" of customers were likely to have bought the t-shirt of a "false belief" that it had been endorsed by the singer. He also stated that the t-shirt was damaging to her "goodwill" and represented a loss of control of her reputation in the "fashion sphere." Justice Birss has not awarded any damages to the singer yet, as that is a matter for another hearing to follow. 


    Rihanna and her New York-based IP rights companies, Roraj Trade and Combermere Entertainment Properties, filed suit in London's High Court in March 2012, alleging that "an unknown quantity of t-shirts were acquired by Topshop in 2011 and early 2012 and offered for sale under the name 'Rihanna Tank.'" The singer reportedly spent eight months and nearly $1 million on legal fees seeking compensation for Topshop's use of her image and the discontinuation of the shirts after Topshop offered her $5,000 to go away when she initially threatened legal action about the tee shirt.

    A spokesman for Topshop, which is already in talks to appeal the ruling, said: The retailer is "surprised and disappointed in the ruling" as there "was no evidence of consumer confusion to support the Judge's conclusion" (consumer confusion is a key standard that must be met in trademark infringement cases in the U.S.). The ruling in this case is significant and somewhat unexpected because the law governing image/publicity rights in the U.K. does not mirror the strong publicity rights of celebrities in the U.S., and thus, the outcome of the case will certainly set a new precedent for future cases where a star's association with a brand is implied by their name or face being used unwillingly.

    images courtesy of zimbio, tfs

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    Alexander Wang's first bags for Balenciaga are here! Entitled Le Dix (a subtle nod to the address of the original Balenciaga salon), the house's collection of handbags for Fall 2013 is a far cry from Wang's Rocco bag, which is the designer's most popular accessory under his namesake label, and also has a quite different look and feel than Balenciaga's city/motorcycle bags (and the many variations thereof) that took young Hollywood and then the fashion crowd by storm after they were introduced in 2001. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie (who has been carrying this style for maybe 10 years now), Lindsay Lohan, and even Kate Moss have been some of the biggest supporters of the bag, helping to clinch the "it" bag title for former creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere and Balenciaga. What do you think of Wang's new bags for Balenciaga? The collection is slated to hit stores in August, with prices ranging from $995 for the pochette to $2,250 for the largest silhouette.

    Balenciaga mototcycle bag (left) & Le Dix Cartable (right)

     

    images courtesy of fashionologie

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  • 07/31/13--08:56: Just Fab v. Fab: The Lawsuit
  • Personalized online shopping site, JUST FAB has just slapped rival website, Fab.com with a string of legal claims, including trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin. JUST FAB alleges in its complaint, which was filed last week in the US District Court for the Central District of California, that Fab.com's use of FAB is "likely to confuse, to cause mistake or to deceive" consumers and that Fab.com has "intended to appropriate and trade off JUST FAB’s goodwill, and the reputation and selling power of its JUST FAB marks, including by capturing initial consumer attention and the resulting marketplace confusion.” Both parties have federally registered trademarks, and according to JUST FAB, Fab.com’s trademark (which consists of the word FAB and a heart design, pictured after the break) is visually similar to the JUST FAB trademark. 


    JUST FAB also alleges that Fab.com drastically changed its course after seeing JUST FAB's success. According to the complaint, Fab.com began as a gay social networking site (called fabulis.com) but after that site failed to catch on, its founders changed their business model and domain name in 2011 after seeing the success of JUST FAB. As a result, JUST FAB is seeking damages to the tune of any profits that Fab.com (which stocks (via shop in shops) both established brands, such as Kate Spade Saturday, as well as small, emerging brands like Cast of Vices and even the wares of our friends at Wowch) has derived from the alleged willful trademark infringement, as well as for Fab.com to stop selling competing fashion goods on its site. More to come ...

    images courtesy of fab.com, just fab

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    The Fashion Law Exclusive - Busta Rhymes, a rapper who was very relevant in the 1990's, has hit the scene again with a new song. While this would otherwise not be breaking news, the music video for his song "Twerk It" is noteworthy for one reason: Rhymes is clad in "Chanel" and "Louis Vuitton." My first instinct was that the over-the-top and objectively hideous jackets and hats covered in the trademarked Louis Vuitton Toile Monogram print and embellished with Chanel buttons (pictured below and after the break) are quite obviously fake, because it is simply out of the question that two of the most iconic Paris-based design houses would create such garments and accessories and/or want to be associated with such a project. Yet, I also thought for sure that no one would be dumb enough to go on national television wearing counterfeit clothing. And then I discovered something called Dapper Dan.


    Turns out, there was a movement in the 1980's that involved "hip-hop legend" and "street couturier" (absolutely not my words), Dapper Dan, who took bolts of fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, and other luxury brands' logo-covered materials, and covered jackets, hats and other things (such as car interiors) with them. His customers: rappers and drug dealers, of course. Not surprisingly, Dapper Dan has faced quite a few lawsuits for trademark infringement. For instance, in 1989 Italian design house Fendi, which was represented by Sonia Sotomayor (who worked for Pavia & Harcourt LLP back then), brought and won its suit against the counterfeiting streetwear designer. Following a flurry of legal woes, Dapper Dan's Harlem-based boutique shut down in 1992, but unfortunately, it appears that he's back and so are his counterfeit creations. The only difference this time, Louis Vuitton and Chanel's legal teams are much fiercer and their resources are much greater. 


    If Louis Vuitton's reaction to a jacket (that consisted of pieces of fake Louis Vuitton material) that singer Justin Bieber stepped out in last year is any indication (a rep for LV said: “Anything unauthentic, whether worn by a famous individual or not, is seriously frowned upon”), it is only a matter of time before Busta Rhymes is hit with a lawsuit. So, catch the video while you can ... 

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    CÉLINE debuted its Resort 2014 collection last month in small presentations for buyers and editors, under the pretense that no photos were to be taken and no reviews written. Attendees were promised photos and additional information about the collection once the lookbook is ready. While CÉLINE's limited presentation technique isn't exactly novel (Tom Ford did similar shows when he returned to womenswear in 2010, and has since reverted to a "normal" showing), it is noteworthy. Fashion today seems to be the antithesis of what it once was. Case in point: the sites with which we are all certainly familiar, such as style.com and the very appropriately named nowfashion.com, among others, that offer live streams of the fashion shows and within-the-hour photos and reviews of each season's collections. Moda Operandi gives consumers the opportunity to shop these runway looks not long thereafter. At this rate, attendance at fashion shows, a once-prized ode to your stature in the fashion world, will be sorely out of style in the near future - because who has the time? 

    images courtesy of nowfashion

    In 2009, Forbes wrote that every brand, high fashion houses included, must be connecting with people via social media in order to stay afloat. Since then, we have seen luxury designers and design houses attempt (and succeed?) to forge connections with the mass market. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. give brands the opportunity to reach out to a wider group of people (and not just the select few invited to fashion shows and other events). And the demand from the general public is there. For instance, in February, Oscar de la Renta offered his fall 2013 show via live stream on his website. His website crashed because so many people were trying to tune in. So, while people are certainly interested in this expansion of high fashion beyond its formerly-limited space, does this correlate to people buying? I'm not so sure. With the profits of fast fashion retailers increasing every. single. fiscal. quarter., is this internet-created sense of accessibility of high fashion really drawing in buyers? Or is it just over-exposing brands, whose entire appeal and existence largely depends on the preservation of their identities as high fashion houses?

    While the downsides of the instantaneous nature of modern-day fashion are quite obvious (increased speed of copying and the overall dilution of the essence high fashion, which whether you like it or not is founded on exclusivity and unattainability), there must be some benefit to making fashion accessible on such a large scale, or else brands would certainly go back to the old way of doing things, no? 

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    In other IP news, Zynga Inc., the social game services company that owns Words With Friends and Chess With Friends, sued Bang With Friends in California federal court on Tuesday, alleging that the like-named program infringes the trademarks for Zynga's “With Friends” line of Internet games. If you're not familiar with Bang With Friends, its an app that provides you with "a completely anonymous way to hook up with your Facebook friends." According to Zynga's complaint, Bang With Friends intended to capitalize on the notoriety of Zynga's family of “With Friends” branded games “in order to get noticed quickly in the sea of Internet applications.” Further, Zynga alleges that Colin Hodge and Omri Mor (the founders of Bang With Friends, which has more than a million registered users), have played its games, and that "this is a case about illegal free riding on recognized and valuable intellectual property rights." 

    image courtesy of tfs

    San Francisco-based Zynga, which was started by brothers Paul and David Bettner in 2009, is seeking damages and an injunction that would require Bang With Friends to undergo a name change - aka drop the "With Friends" from its name. We may hear more about this or the parties may settle with the allegedly infringing site becoming Bang Your Friends (or something like that).

    This is just the latest in what has been a controversial (yet, successful) beginning for Bang With Friends. This past May, Bang with Friends released an iPhone and Android version of the service, but within a week, Apple banned the app from the iStore, after deeming that it was "offensive content." However, users can still sign in online and using an Android device. More to come ... 

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