Fashion law roundup: Israel regulates model BMI; IDPPPA backers tire; Zara's Harris Tweed apology; "scrotal support garments"...

Posted by Charles Colman

True, weekly "roundups" are conventionally posted on Fridays.  But LAW OF FASHION is not your conventional news source.  (Okay, yeah, it's fairly conventional.)  In any event, here are the notable fashion law stories of the past week; the name of the game was protecting models.  Well, that, and "scrotal support garments"...

Top Headlines


"Israel passes law banning use of underweight models" (BBC News)

"The Israeli government has passed a law banning the use of underweight models in advertising and on the catwalk.  The new law requires models to provide medical proof of their weight, and for adverts to state if an image has been altered to make a model appear thinner...."


"New Bill Aims to Protect Models from Clients Who Won’t Pay Up" (Fashionista)

"According to an announcement posted on Model Alliance’s site, [Model Alliance and the Freelancers Union] are working together to help pass the Freelancer Payment Protection Act, a proposed law that will help protect models and other freelancers in New York from deadbeat clients as well as protect models from wage theft by their agencies.  Under the new law, victims of nonpayment will be able to file complaints with the New York State Department of Labor, and after investigating, the Department of Labor may award victims 100% of what they’re owed, plus attorney’s fees and interest...."

"Aristeo Tengco, Emmanuel New York Models Founder, Sued By Three Models" (HuffPost Style)

"Yet another lawsuit is bringing the [vulnerable] nature of modeling to the forefront: three young models are suing Aristeo Tengco, head of Emmanuel New York Models, for forcing them to live under 'relentless and severe and pervasive sex-based hostility and fear.'  [The 17- and 19-year-old plaintiffs are] alleging that Tengco touched them inappropriately and lured them in to his 'model apartment' with talks of Christian values...."

"CFDA, AAFA Taking New Tack on Design Piracy" (Women's Wear Daily)

"The two groups backing copyright protection for designers are shifting their priorities from a legislative solution that remains stalled in Congress and are focusing instead on industry initiatives addressing design piracy and knockoffs.... It has been five years since the legislative battle for copyright protection began in the fashion industry. What has come out of the lobbying campaign for the legislation is a higher level of collaboration between the AAFA, which opposed the initial bill, and the CFDA, which has taken the fight into its own hands and launched anticounterfeiting campaigns as an industry initiative.... In light of the lack of traction on the bill, Rick Darling, president of LF USA and chairman of the AAFA, said, 'I think what you are seeing is great collaboration that took place between the AAFA and the CFDA, and neither party necessarily needs the government to intervene right now. We’re actually cooperating pretty well together.'"

"US Customs set to share information again [if the 'Foreign Counterfeit Prevention Act' passes]" (Managing Intellectual Property)

"IP owners will get more information from US Customs officers about suspected counterfeits if politicians agree to back a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives[.]  The Foreign Counterfeit Prevention Act, House Bill 4216, will allow US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to disclose information including retail packaging, a sample of the [questionable] merchandise, and images of the merchandise while determining whether suspected counterfeit goods are fake or not.  Officers used to share such information, but in 2008 were told by CBP to remove bar codes and other identifying marks before giving information to rights holders, amid fears that they [might violate] the Trade Secrets Act."

"Coach Wins $5M Judgment Against Flea Market Owner" (WREG Memphis)

"A federal jury has returned a $5 million judgment against Memphis businessman, Fred Goodfellow, for [the sale of counterfeit Coach handbags at the flea market he owns and operatess, which now] is trashed.  It was shut down after it was raided by officers and now the man who owns the property has to pay big for what he allowed vendors to sell there, fake Coach purses and other items with the company’s name on it....  Investigators went to Goodfellow’s home to ask if he’ll be able to pay Coach the money they were awarded.  Goodfellow said, 'Ma’am, you know I don’t have $5 million.'"

"Zara apologises for misusing Harris Tweed name" (BBC News)

"Earlier this year ITX Fashion Limited was selling a product on its website described, but not actually labelled, as a Harris Tweed blazer.  The [Harris Tweed Authority] said that because the jackets had not been made from Harris Tweed, ITX had broken the law.  ITX has apologised and the case has been settled "amicably"....  The Harris Tweed Act of 1993 ensures the name and symbol can only be used for fabric "handwoven by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides."

"Karen Millen responds to reports over potential trademark infringement" (Drapers)

"Womenswear retailer Karen Millen will 'take very seriously' any attempts to trade using its name following reports that its [namesake] founder wants to start trading again, despite her having sold all interests in the business in 2004....  The retailer added that while it would be 'delighted' to see someone with Millen’s talent back in the market, they believe that she would want any new venture to be successful in its own right and not to be confused with the Karen Millen brand which she sold in 2004."

"Could the Future of Pop Art Hinge on the Legal Fight of One Underdog Alabama Sports Painter?" (ART INFO)

"Birmingham-based Daniel A. Moore has been locked in a fiercesome high-stakes legal battle with the University of Alabama (UA), which is seeking to prevent him from creating his popular photorealistic paintings of the school's sports exploits. In this case, the fate of the avant garde is definitely wedded to that of kitsch: Any work of art that happens to feature images of actual athletic uniforms, insignia, or even a franchise's signature colors could be affected. [Moore] scored a big victory in [the] case three years ago, when a U.S. District Court in Birmingham ruled that his paintings were protected by the First Amendment.  The same court did, however, deny First Amendment protection to the mugs, calendars, and other items printed with reproductions of the paintings that Moore had been peddling.  Neither party was pleased with the ruling, and each filed an appeal. Arguments in the ensuing case were given at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on February 2, and a decision is expected soon...."

"U.S. Patent Examiner Cites Borat's Famous Swimsuit in Rejecting Claimed Invention" (The Hollywood Reporter / THR Esq.)

"It looks like Sacha Baron Cohen has a fan at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  A patent examiner there recently rejected an application for a 'Scrotal Support Garment,' which bears great similarity to the swimsuit that Cohen famously wore in Borat. In the non-final rejection, the examiner pointed to a picture of Borat found on the Internet and included a humorous diagram to show prior art...."

Below the Fold

"Burberry Sues Armenian Coffee House" (Fashion Law Center)


"The Situation v. Abercrombie Trademark Lawsuit Ordered to Mediation" (LA LATE)


"Consumers Still Offended by Abercrombie & Fitch Hoax" (BET)


"Springsteen merchandiser sues knock-off artists ahead of TD Garden show" (Boston Business Journal)


"Pa. Army vet get probation in fake jersey case" (PennLive via AP)

"Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against [American Apparel CEO] Dov Charney Moved To Arbitration" (Styleite)

"Retailers report more shoplifting" (Commercial News)


"Michael Kors To Make Billions Thanks to IPO; Will Other Designers Follow Suit?" (Fashionista)


Upcoming events featuring this writer

Thursday, Mar. 29th, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. (NYC) - "Why Copyright: Going Beyond the Parameters of the Copyright Act" (sponsored by The Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and hosted by NYU Law School).  Moderated by Eric Rayman, with panelists Julia Haye, Max Tonnone, and meThe event is free, but you must register NOW.

Thursday, April 25th, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. (NYC) - "The Margins of Copyright Law," organized by the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School. Details forthcoming.


Late April (exact date/time TBD): This writer will be moderating a fashion law panel at the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), tentatively featuring Marc Jacobs Associate General Counsel Kelly Koyama and other notable panelists TBA.

[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.]