Fashion Law Watch

Legal issues, laws and regulations concerning the world of fashion and luxury goods.

1
Optimising your D2C e-commerce fashion operation – top 10 tips
2
Australian active wear business fined AU$5 million for making false and misleading COVID-19 apparel claims
3
Mike Tyson Sues Australian Streetwear Brand Culture Kings
4
“All Aboard” As Guerlain Departs From the Norm: The General Court of the EU Finds Distinctive Character in Boat Hull Shaped Lipstick Packaging
5
Caudalie Fined In Belgium In The Context Of The Implementation Of Its Selective Distribution Network
6
White House Provides Guidance on “Made in America” Executive Order
7
UNICOLORS v. H&M: COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION VALIDITY
8
Fashion Law Update
9
Riding On Coat-tails, Doesn’t Come Free: UK High Court Awards Additional Damages for Oh Polly’s Flagrant Infringement of House of CB’s Unregistered Design Rights
10
When Is an Office Chair Design Famous? U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Herman Miller’s Trade Dress Appeal Regarding the Eames Chair

Optimising your D2C e-commerce fashion operation – top 10 tips

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:

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Australian active wear business fined AU$5 million for making false and misleading COVID-19 apparel claims

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”.

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Mike Tyson Sues Australian Streetwear Brand Culture Kings

Mike Tyson, the famous former boxer, has sued Australian streetwear brand Culture Kings and its founders. Mr Tyson alleges the respondents have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law for using his name, nicknames and likeness to sell t-shirts, without his permission. Mr Tyson alleges that Culture Kings’ t-shirts bear images of him, his name as well as his monikers “Iron Mike”, and “Kid Dynamite”.

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“All Aboard” As Guerlain Departs From the Norm: The General Court of the EU Finds Distinctive Character in Boat Hull Shaped Lipstick Packaging

In what will be welcomed by innovative design brands, on 14 July 2021, the General Court of the EU handed down a decision annulling the EUIPO and Board of Appeal’s decisions that a mark filed by Guerlain lacked distinctive character. This decision emphasises that a distinctiveness assessment of a three-dimensional mark must be undertaken by reference to the specifics of common practice in the market for the relevant products.

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Caudalie Fined In Belgium In The Context Of The Implementation Of Its Selective Distribution Network

By Nicolas Hipp

On 6 May 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) fined the high-end skincare products supplier Caudalie €859,310 for breaching competition law by imposing to its authorized distributors minimum resale prices and illegal limitations of online sales.

Caudalie submitted commitments to the BCA concerning the conditions that Caudalie can impose on distributors to safeguard the integrity of its distribution network and protect its brand image. The BCA’s decision made these commitments legally binding and considered them as mitigating circumstances justifying a decrease of the amount of the fine.

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White House Provides Guidance on “Made in America” Executive Order

By Susan Kayser and Lauren Burke

On June 11, 2021, the White House issued initial guidance on how President Biden’s January 25, 2021 “Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” (“Order”) will be implemented.  The Order aims to ensure that the federal government is spending taxpayer money on American-made goods, by American workers, and with American-made component parts.  This is significant considering the nearly $600 billion the federal government spends annually. 

The “Made in America Office” (MIAO) established by the Order is within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The MIAO will review any exceptions from or waivers of Made in America Laws filed by government agencies.  The renewed focus on “Made in America” as implemented by the MIAO will likely influence enforcement of Made in America claims as well.

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UNICOLORS v. H&M: COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION VALIDITY

By Susan Kayser and Betsy Byra

On June 1, 2021, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the ongoing case of Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., No. 20-915.  With a nearly $1 million copyright verdict on the line, pattern manufacturer Unicolors, Inc.’s (“Unicolors”) fate is now at the Supreme Court to decide whether courts should refer copyright registration validity challenges to the Copyright Office where there is a known misrepresentation in the registration, but no evidence of intent to defraud.

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Fashion Law Update

“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world—an emotion.”

Alber Elbaz

In this edition of Fashion Law, we have a huge selection of articles from around the world.

As many countries ease into a new way of living with/post COVID-19, the way we do business has changed. Some businesses managed to expand their offerings going online, while others needed to increase their brand protection to counteract copycats, trade mark and design infringements.

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Riding On Coat-tails, Doesn’t Come Free: UK High Court Awards Additional Damages for Oh Polly’s Flagrant Infringement of House of CB’s Unregistered Design Rights

On 24 February 2021, the UK High Court found that a number of Oh Polly dress designs had infringed the unregistered design rights of its competitor, House of CB. This recent decision confirms the risk of additional damages being awarded if infringers flagrantly copy third party designs, whilst also confirming the difficulties brand owners face in bringing passing off actions based solely on copycat designs.

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When Is an Office Chair Design Famous? U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Herman Miller’s Trade Dress Appeal Regarding the Eames Chair

The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up Herman Miller, Inc.’s appeal from a Ninth Circuit holding that partially overturned a jury verdict and held that Herman Miller’s popular Eames office chair (average retail price US$1,200) is not “famous” enough to qualify for trade dress dilution protection.[1] The Supreme Court’s denial of Herman Miller’s petition means the Ninth Circuit’s decision will stand.

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