Fashion law roundup: H&M is sorry about tan model; Botox trademark safe, for now; Louboutin hedges his bets; Star Wars swimwear

Posted by Charles Colman

All the fashion law news that's fit to curate (and the unfit news as well)...


Intellectual Property

"L’Oreal Loses EU Court Challenge Over Botox-Like Trademarks" (BloombergBusinessweek)

"L’Oreal SA (OR)’s effort to register trademarks that sound similar to Botox, a wrinkle treatment made by Allergan Inc. (AGN) (AGN), was rejected by the top European Union court. The EU Court of Justice backed the earlier refusals by the EU trademark office for L’Oreal to own the rights to the words 'botolist' and 'botocyl' for cosmetic products. 'The use of the marks at issue would take unfair advantage of the reputation of the "Botox" trademarks,' according to a court statement today...."


"More than $1.5M in proceeds seized from online sale of counterfeit sports apparel manufactured in China" (ICE)

"The Department of Justice seized more than $1.5 million in proceeds from the distribution of counterfeit sports apparel and jerseys, following an investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods on commercial websites conducted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)...."


"INTA’S Unreal Campaign Challenges Teens [to Respect Intellectual Property Rights]" (Managing IP)

"At a session [on May 8th] on anticounterfeiting, [Christopher] Robertson [of U.S. Customs and Border Protection] was speaking to a group of students from D.C. area high schools about the risks associated with purchasing fake goods. Few people, he told them, think about the direct consequences of illegal downloading but it is not a victimless crime.

The talk was part of [the
International Trademark Association, or 'INTA']’s Unreal campaign, an effort aimed at educating teens about trademarks and counterfeiting. Yesterday’s launch was the culmination of months of research with AMP Agency, a marketing firm that specializes in targeting teens. Together, they held focus groups and invited teens from major U.S. cities to join a private social network to complete assignments and questionnaires.

'These are the folks that are obviously the next generation of purchasers,” said INTA President Gregg Marrazzo of Estee Lauder. 'Even now they have significant purchasing power.'..."

"Counterfeits on Agenda at 12th Round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Talks" (Asian Fashion Law)

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a free trade agreement being negotiated by many of the world’s leading countries.... Representatives from the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam will meet in Dallas over the next 10 days for the 12th round of TPPA talks. It is hoped by many that intellectual property will be on the agenda at the 12th round, seeing that the trade in counterfeit goods and content is growing.


Stephen Tepp, chief intellectual property counsel for the Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Centre is of the view that: ‘Right now, the trade agreements are the best and most active ways to raise the global profile of intellectual property.' His view comes amidst growing opposition to the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a treaty [that] focuses primarily on counterfeit physical goods...."


Bob Marley's family opposes trademark registration for 'ONE LOVE' in connection with jewelry (Erik Pelton's TTABULATOR)

[Click here for the official Notice of Opposition.]


Heels and Deals

"Australian Fashion Line Gets ‘Star Wars’ Clothing Deal After Getting a Cease-and-Desist’ Letter from George Lucas" (Asian Fashion Law)

"Black Milk Clothing is an internet-only business that began operating out of the kitchen of its owner’s house. Owner and designer James Lillis illegally produced Star Wars products, particularly, swimsuits based on Star Wars robot characters R2-D2 and C-3PO. [George Lucas sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company.] When production stopped, the AUD90 Artoo and Threepio suits became collectors’ items, people on eBay would pay as much as AUD600 for each suit. James on seeing this, quickly realised that he had to capitalise on the brands new cult following. He contacted Lucasfilm and successfully cut a deal with them, allowing him to license the Star Wars intellectual property rights...."

"Let's Make a Deal: Beauty M&A Heats Up" (Women's Wear Daily; sub. required)

"The selling season is in full swing, with a host of beauty companies preening to attract potential buyers.... [There's the ongoing Coty-Avon saga, of course, but it's just one of many examples.]  Urban Decay is one of a number of brands said to be whirling around the marketplace, vying for the attention of both strategic buyers or financial investors. The beauty firms on investment bankers lips vary greatly in size and by category, ranging from doctor-created lines, including Perricone MD and the Limited Brands’ Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology, to hair oils, such as Macademia Natural Oil and Moroccanoil, which is rumored to have generated interest from L’Oréal Professionnel at one point...."

"The Sims 3 Diesel Stuff Pack Debuts This Summer" (Inside Mac Games)

"Electronic Arts' and Diesel have announced a collaboration between The Sims franchise and the apparel and lifestyle design company. The partnership will take the form of The Sims 3: Diesel Stuff Pack, a new addition to the game which will feature clothing and furniture from Diesel’s 2012 Spring/Summer collection...."

"Bankrupt Tennis Line Prince Scores $15M Licensing Deal" (IP 360; sub. required)

"Bankrupt Prince Sports Inc. agreed Wednesday to license its iconic brands to Battle Sports Science LLC in a deal that will return at least $15 million to the ailing tennis equipment supplier and keep it in the game for the upcoming season. The agreement, which requires the approval of a Delaware bankruptcy judge, allows Battle Sports Science the right to source, market and distribute Prince products in the U.S. through the end of 2017...."


"Manolo Blahnik Inks Deal With Kurt Geiger" (WWD; sub. required)

"Manolo Blahnik is raising his profile in London. Blahnik, who until recently had just one point of sale in the U.K. — a shop on a quiet street in London’s Chelsea — has inked a long-term deal with Kurt Geiger to sell the brand at Harrods and Liberty. Under the terms of the deal, Geiger will manage and create boutiques within the shoe departments at the two London department stores...."


Fashion Ethics (or Lack Thereof)


"What the U.S. Can—and Can't—Learn From Israel's Ban on Ultra-Thin Models" (The Atlantic)

"On Monday, March 19, the Israeli parliament passed legislation ubiquitously known in the country as the Photoshop laws. The new regulations on the fashion and advertising industry ban underweight models as determined by Body Mass Index and regulate Photoshop usage in media and advertising. Abroad, the laws have opened new discussion on a government's right to intervene in these two industries....


The more accepted approach for activism in the United States has been to put public pressure on the fashion industry to change, without government intervention. Some have answered the call for change, such as Dove, which launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 and a viral video entitled 'Evolution' in 2006, which shows the unbelievable transformation of an 'ordinary' woman into a Photoshopped super-woman. Its model of positive advertising has brought the brand attention, but it doesn't appear to have caught on in the wider advertising or media industries, which are still Photoshopping away...."

"Patagonia Boosts Corporate Transparency With Revamped 'Footprint Chronicles' Website" (Ecouterre)

"The abundance of greenwashed claims can make even the least cynical among us wary—and weary—of so-called eco-friendly labels. Patagonia, on the other hand, wants you to see right through it. With the relaunch of its Footprint Chronicles website, the outdoor apparel brand lays bare the environmental and social footprint of 90 percent of its Spring 2012 product line. New features include a Google-powered world map that pinpoints every textile mill and factory in Patagonia’s supply chain, profiles and codes of conduct of key suppliers, and film and photo tours of how different products are made...."

"African Scientist, Designer Create Anti-Malaria Bodysuit to Repel Mosquitos" (Ecouterre)

"Who says you can’t fend off mosquitoes with style? A Cornell University scientist from Kenya and a Gambian designer have developed a purple-and-gold hooded bodysuit impregnated with insecticides at the nano level. Designed to repel mosquitoes infected with malaria, a disease the kills an estimated 655,000 people in Africa each year, the prototype does insecticide-treated nets one better because it can be be worn throughout the day. And unlike skin-based repellants that dissipate easily, the molecular bonds in the fabric are almost impossible to break...."


"Marc Jacobs Appears to Be in a Fight With Graffiti Artist Kidult" (NY Mag / The Cut)

"Earlier this week, graffiti artist Kidult tagged Marc Jacobs's Soho boutique with the word ART in hot-pink letters, tweeting a photo of his work on Tuesday.... But later this week, the label announced that they would sell hot pink 'Art by Art Jacobs' T-shirts emblazoned with photos of the graffiti'd store.... Kidult himself doesn't seem to be amused by the shirt [tweeting] '@MarcJacobsIntl ... ??? LET'S PLAY, but we don't play the same rules!'..."




Mean Business

"Europe’s Luxury Rally Founders as China, Greece Hurt LVMH" (BloombergBusinessweek)

"The biggest rally in three years for luxury-goods makers in Europe is fizzling on concern slower economic growth in China and renewed euro-area political turmoil after Greece’s inconclusive election will choke off demand. The nine-company Bloomberg European Luxury Goods Index (BNLXGDEU), whose clothiers and watchmakers get 34 percent of sales from Asia, tumbled 5.5 percent over the past five days, the largest decline since Nov. 24, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 2.5 percent. The luxury gauge surged 25 percent in the first quarter as designers Hugo Boss AG (BOS) and Salvatore Ferragamo SpA gained more than 50 percent. China’s cooling growth, the political impasse since Greece’s May 6 election and proposed tax increases from France’s new president are hurting the industry...."

"Betsey Johnson Chain Starts Liquidation Sale" (Reuters)

"U.S. fashion designing house Betsey Johnson LLC, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, has commenced a going-out-of-business sale at its stores and outlets. Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Merchant Resources are jointly running the sale on Betsey Johnson's behalf, the company said in a statement. All store fixtures such as apparel racks, shelving and lighting are also available for sale, said the company, whose licenses are owned by Steven Madden...."


"Christian Louboutin Beauty Line Set To Launch In 2013" [or, the designer hedges his bets while the Second Circuit ponders his company's fate (?)]" (HuffPost Style)

"Look out, all you red sole lovers: you're about to get an extra dose of Louboutin in your life. Christian Louboutin is launching a beauty line called Christian Louboutin Beauté, Women's Wear Daily reports. The shoe designer is partnering with Batallure Beauty LLC to enter the luxury beauty market, bringing his patented [sic] sexiness to the makeup counter.... [From 'hedge [hej] ... verb (used with object) ... to mitigate a possible loss by counterbalancing (one's bets, investments, etc.)']"

"H&M Is Sorry It Used a Tan Supermodel to Sell Swimsuits, Guys" (Gawker)


"Retailer H&M is deeply sorry it attempted to sell swimwear using images of a sexy, tanned Victoria's Secret fashion model, the AFP reports.  Ads for the company's 2012 swim line were subject to recent criticism abroad, when dermatologists and spokespersons for cancer foundations began claiming model Isabeli Fontana's ultra-bronzed complexion would put the PYTs (Pasty Young Things) of Europe at a greater risk of developing skin cancer by encouraging them to tan…."



These Foolish Games (Fashion and Politics)

"Conservative Moms Attack J.C. Penney For Catalog’s Lesbian Couple" (Styleite)

"One Million Moms [er, 1403 Moms] is launching another attack against J.C. Penney. This time, the conservative group is pissed that the retailer’s May catalog features a lesbian couple. According to their website, One Million Moms is angry that J.C. Penney isn’t 'remaining neutral in the cultural war' on gay rights...."

"J.C. Penney Actually Benefits From One Million Moms’ Ire" (NY Mag / The Cut)

"Conservative watchdog group One Million Moms, which attempts to organize boycotts against brands like J.C. Penney and Urban Outfitters for featuring gay people in their promotional materials, might actually help their enemies more than harm them. According to a report from YouGov BrandIndex, a research firm that measures brand health, J.C. Penney's 'consumer perception' numbers spiked after One Million Moms issued an online complaint about the retailer's inclusion of a lesbian couple in Mother's Day catalogue...."


"Illegal [Fashion] Ads on SoHo Building Prompt a Record Fine" (NY Times)

"Some outdoor advertising companies regard municipal fines for illegal signs as just another cost of doing business. New York City is suggesting they think again. The cost has now reached six figures...."


[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.  Neither LAW OF FASHION nor any person or entity associated with it can warrant the thoroughness or accuracy of the content here or at the linked sites.]