Recently, several fashion houses were raided by European Union antitrust regulators based on concerns that these companies may have violated laws against cartels and restrictive business practices. Relatedly, in the United States, the current administration has been very aggressive in its enforcement of antitrust laws with a new “Won’t Back Down” approach towards litigation and increased investigative activity. The current landscape should serve as a reminder why it’s important to, first and foremost, ensure compliance with the antitrust laws around the world, but also to be prepared should the government come knocking.Read More
Dior’s B33 Sneaker
In July 2023, Dior announced its first foray into blockchain when it released B33 sneakers for men, a further example of how brands are evolving how they interact, influence, and collaborate with consumers.Read More
Thousands of Australians are falling victim to online shopping scams every year. In June 2023 alone, over two thousand scam incidents were reported with a total combined loss of AU$1,115,264 according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.1Read More
High-end outdoor clothing brand Patagonia Inc is taking on fast fashion retailer Gap for copying its “iconic” fleece jacket design. Patagonia Inc has filed court proceedings in the Federal Court.
In a complaint filed on 22 November 2022, Patagonia alleges that Gap willfully and deliberately copied the fleece design through the creation and sale of its “Mockneck Pullover” jackets, mimicking the flap pocket and rectangular logo of Patagonia’s classic “Snap-T” fleece jackets (both shown below).
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the why we live, what is happening.”Coco Chanel
In this edition of Fashion Law, we cover a range of topics which are having an impact on businesses and consumers in the fashion and luxury products sector worldwide.Read More
The trend of regulators cracking down on misleading green claims or the so-called “greenwashing” continues this week. In the latest development, on Friday 29 July 2022, the British competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), launched an investigation into the eco-friendly claims of retailers Asos, Boohoo, and Asda.Read More
After recently suing Aldi over allegations of intellectual property infringement based on its Colin the Caterpillar cake and Christmas glitter gin, Marks & Spencer (M&S) now faces a “liti-gator” itself as it has recently been sued by Lacoste for allegedly infringing its crocodile logo (shown below) and related rights on a number of clothing and household products.
We set out below a representation a selection of the alleging infringing products the subject of the complaint.
Lacoste, the luxury sportswear brand, wrote to M&S last year demanding that it cease advertising and selling various goods bearing crocodile logos or signs. M&S refused and now Lacoste is seeking an injunction on M&S and damages (among other things).
The Lacoste brand, which is named after the well-known tennis player René Lacoste who was nicknamed “the Crocodile,” has existed since 1933. As such, it has an extensive reputation worldwide and has ownership of a number of UK trade mark registrations, dating back to 1984. Lacoste is arguing that by using similar versions of its crocodile logo, which has built up a considerable reputation by the brand, M&S are not only creating a likelihood of confusion between the brands, but importantly, are taking advantage of the Lacoste mark.
What is interesting about Lacoste’s claims is that although the brand only owns trade mark registrations in the UK for the word CROCODILE and various representations of its logo, they are claiming that M&S’ use of different crocodile signs on products and the use of the word CROCODILE in relation to those goods constitutes trade mark infringement and passing off. These allegations are particularly interesting since M&S’ feature varying depictions of crocodiles. The claim is also in relation to a number of products sold by M&S that feature Roald Dahl’s crocodile character from The Enormous Crocodile, whose image would be licenced to M&S to use (shown below).
What’s to Come?
Whilst M&S is yet to file its defence in the proceedings, statements from the brand indicate that it is likely that they will argue that their products merely feature depictions of real life animals and are not an infringement of Lacoste’s rights.
However, whatever the outcome of this case (if it is not settled in the meantime), it will be interesting to monitor it as the decision could have important lessons for trade mark owners and third parties on the scope of protection granted over not just their trade mark, but similar marks.
Reference: Lacoste, Lacoste E-Commerce and Lacoste UK Limited v Marks and Spencer P.L.C. (IL-2021-000093)
“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life“Bill Cunningham
In this edition of Fashion Law, we look at the emerging and evolving trends within the retail, luxury goods and fashion sectors post COVID-19 around the world.
In this edition, we focus on a few themes which include:
- Navigating a fashion brand’s transition to direct to consumer
- Important updates for brands selling goods in Europe
- Managing supply chain risk – the U.S. perspective
- Consumer Law in Australia
- What’s happening in fashion intellectual property?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated most brands’ plans to grow their own direct to consumer (D2C) e-commerce presence. For many brands, this has become essential to their continued survival and competitiveness.
However, how does a fashion brand run a successful e-commerce site whilst retaining the exclusive allure and personal feel of its designer stores? What are the key legal pitfalls it should be looking out for as it navigates this changing landscape? We’ve pulled together 10 lessons learnt over the past 18 months:
The Australian Federal Court has ordered women’s active wear manufacturer and retailer, Lorna Jane Pty Ltd (Lorna Jane), to pay AU$5 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations to consumers, and engaging in conduct liable to mislead the public, in connection with the promotion and supply of its “LJ Shield Activewear”.Read More