Fashion law roundup: unpaid fashion mag intern seeks payback; poisonous hair products; the USPTO's got Blue Ivy's tiny back

Posted by Charles Colman

Here are the stories that caught LAW OF FASHION's eye this week...


Former Intern Sues Hearst Over Unpaid Work and Hopes to Create a Class Action (New York Times, Media Decoder Blog)

"'Unpaid interns are becoming the modern-day equivalent of entry-level employees, except that employers are not paying them for the many hours they work,' said Adam Klein, one of the lawyers for [the plaintiff]. 'The practice of classifying employees as ‘interns’ to avoid paying wages runs afoul of federal and state wage and hour laws.'"

LAW OF FASHION ® has covered this ground before...

Appeals court to hear arguments on trademark suit involving Univ. of Alabama, sports artist (Washington Post)

"A federal appeals court [has] hear[d] arguments in the trademark infringement case between sports artist Daniel Moore and the University of Alabama, whose football program is portrayed in a number of his works.  They present[ed] their cases to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Thursday.  The university filed suit in 2005 alleging that Moore violated trademark law in painting scenes from football games by showing Crimson Tide players in their crimson and white uniforms without permission. . . . A federal judge’s ruling in 2009 found that Moore’s paintings and prints were protected but that other items — like coffee mugs — weren’t. Both sides appealed."

For more on trademark law showdowns between athletes and artists, read this important 2003 decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals involving paintings of Tiger Woods (*cringe*)...

Brazilian Blowout Legally Labeled Carcinogenic ... Will It Matter? (Forbes, Green Tech Blog)

"Last year women’s magazines and pop culture blogs were afire with the news that the popular Brazilian Blowout – an expensive salon treatment that promises to smooth and straighten hair for up to six months–released formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. . . . In addition to [receiving a 'firmly worded letter' from the FDA, one Brazilian Blowout product manufacturer,] GIB LLC was also sued by the state of California, where it is headquartered. The results of that suit came through today in the form of a settlement that requires GIB, LLC, which does business under the name Brazilian Blowout, to cease deceptive advertising that describes two of its popular products as formaldehyde-free and safe. The company must also make significant changes to its website and pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs. . . . The thing is, despite nearly two years now of bad press, the Brazilian Blowout is still a popular treatment."

Ladies, is it really worth it?  I think Of Montreal might have titled this song sarcastically...

Target settles name dispute with Fairweather, Canadian specialty retailers (The Toronto Star)

"Giant U.S. discount department store retailer Target Corp. has settled a naming and branding rights dispute with a group of Canadian specialty retailers, removing a crucial obstacle to Target’s entry into Canada in March 2013.  The move settles a $250 million lawsuit launched by the owners of Fairweather Ltd. against the American retailer a year ago January saying Fairweather owned the rights to the Target name in Canada."

LOF has been here before, too...

After Government Smackdown, Clothing Designer Abandons Effort To Trademark Blue Ivy Carter’s Name (The Smoking Gun)

"A New York City clothing designer has withdrawn his application to trademark the name of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s newborn daughter after a government lawyer gave a preliminary thumbs down to his bid. . . . [The applicant] abandoned his bid immediately after a USPTO attorney cited several reasons for refusing to register the trademark. The [USPTO] lawyer noted that Blue Ivy Carter, now three weeks old, is a 'famous infant' and that consumers would incorrectly conclude that a line of apparel bearing the baby’s name 'is connected with the child though through the control of her parents.'"


For background on some of the legal principles at work here, check out this old gem in the LOF vaults...

And with that, I'm out.

[This post is for entertainment and informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship among any individuals or entities.  Any views expressed in this post or at the linked web pages are those of the writer on a particular date, and should not necessarily be attributed to this writer, his law firm, or its clients.  LAW OF FASHION does not and cannot warrant the thoroughness or accuracy of the content at the linked web pages.]