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
Hermès 3D trademark saga in Italy might have come to an end following the Italian Supreme Court (Court) decision issued on 17 October 2022, No 30455.
The trial saga started way back in 2009 before the Court of Florence, when Hermès International S.c.p.a. and Hermès Italie S.p.A. (jointly, Hermès), sued Buti Amerigo & C s.a.s., Buti Srl, and Buti Italia Srl (jointly, Buti) for unfair competition and for IP infringements due to the production and the marketing of counterfeit Kelly and Birkin handbags, in violation of EU TMs 2083327 and 4467247; as well as Italian TMs 1003725; 1003726; 1003725, and 1003726 (jointly, the Trademarks).Read More
Another unfavourable decision on non-traditional trade marks has landed, now in relation to Dior’s iconic Saddle bag. The EUIPO’s Second Board of Appeal decided that Dior’s Saddle bag is not distinctive with respect to handbags. The decision is seen as surprising yet not unpredictable, given the recent history of unsuccessful trade mark applications for 3D signs (for example, see our previous article on the Moon Boot case here).Read More
“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
Over the past decade, influence marketing has changed the way advertising is handled by companies. Influencers have entered the marketing world by leveraging massive followings on social media platforms, and brands have recognised the value of the new category of advertising professionals.
Even though the use of influencers has become a mainstay of advertising, French legislation has yet to meet this evolution, resulting in an often opaque legal framework.
The broad spread-out provisions applicable to influencers also generate difficulties in understanding influencers legal status, in particular when they are underage. This notably raises the question whether influencers are employees of the brands they advertise for—and therefore subject to labor law—or if they should be considered independent contractors, with their relationship with brands subject to commercial legislation.
Such opaque legal framework raises questions about the applicable regime, as well as the legal status of influencers. Even though there is no specific regime for influencers, recent legislation was adopted in order to protect children influencers (see our previous alert here).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?
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.Read More
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.Read More