Tebow summons wrath of God against t-shirt maker; L’Oréal faces class action over flammability; Coty rebounds from Avon with IPO

Posted by Charles Colman

It's been a busy day in fashion law news, and in case you're not already a member of the LAW OF FASHION LinkedIn group and/or following LOF on Twitter (in which case, shame on you!), LOF has compiled the latest headlines for your edification and amusement:


"Tim Tebow Raising Hell Over 'MY Jesus' Tees" (TMZ)

"Tim Tebow is definitely down with Jesus ... but he ain't down with 'MY Jesus' t-shirts -- and he's threatening legal action because he says a website is illegally using his name to sell the merchandise.


TMZ obtained the cease and desist letter Tebow's attorneys sent to cubbytees.com last month -- in which they claim 'The Merchandise makes it appear as if Mr. Tebow actually endorses Cubby Tees and its products.' Interestingly, the tee shirts in question do not use Tebow's image or name -- but instead spell out 'MY Jesus' using the colors and font of his new team, the NY Jets...."


[Ed. This isn't the first time LAW OF FASHION ® has remarked upon news of a sports apparel incident; in fact, it's not even the first time Tebow-related apparel has been the subject of a legal dispute. But LOF has more to say about this particular sports apparel spat... coming soon.]


"Class Action [Status] Granted in L’Oréal Lawsuit" (Women's Wear Daily; sub. required)

"Certification has been granted by District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California to two consumer subclasses in an action alleging that L’Oréal USA Inc. and L’Oréal USA Products Inc. failed to warn buyers of flammability in its Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum.... [Ed. LAW OF FASHION ® can't resist pointing out that L’Oréal's slogan for the Garnier Fructis line is "Take Care," which may come across somewhat differently than intended in light of this new lawsuit.]


The defendants argued that plaintiffs’ claims are not suitable for class treatment, citing Dukes v. Wal-Mart, in which the Supreme Court refused to allow a class-action suit in an employment discrimination case in 2011. Despite the opposition, the Court on May 7 maintained that plaintiffs have adequately alleged economic injury for the class suit...."


"Adidas sues Big 5 over alleged sneaker knock-offs" (Reuters)


"Adidas AG has sued to stop a U.S. sporting goods retailer and a skateboarding equipment maker from selling sneakers with three parallel diagonal stripes, a design it said looks too much like its own.


The world's second-largest sporting goods company claimed that sneakers made by World Industries Inc and sold by Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp are knock-offs that infringe many Adidas trademarks. Adidas first used the three-stripe motif in 1952 and began [the trademark registration process] in the United States in 1994...."


[Ed. Regular readers of LAW OF FASHION ® are well aware that Adidas is very... protective of its three-stripe design.  Recall this episode -- and this one.]

"FDA: New Sunscreen Guidelines Delayed Six Months" (TIME / Healthland)

"Sunscreen confusion may continue through this summer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on May 11 that it’s giving sunscreen manufacturers an additional six months to make labeling changes that will help users better protect themselves....


Manufacturers said they were having difficulty meeting the original deadline, which is less than a month away. So in a formal announcement, the FDA said it will give companies six more months, until December, to make the necessary changes. Smaller companies have an even more generous deadline of December 2013. The agency argues that without the extension, there would be sunscreen shortages...."


"Coty picks banks for planned autumn IPO" (Reuters)

"Beauty company Coty Inc has picked its lead underwriters for a planned initial public offering this fall, two days after it pulled a $10.7 billion unsolicited offer to buy Avon Products Inc (AVP.N), a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The fragrance maker, founded in Paris in 1904 by François Coty, has selected Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) to lead the IPO, the source said....


The IPO would value Coty, known for fragrances for Madonna and sports brand Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE) at more than $7 billion, the source said. That would make it almost as valuable as Avon, which has a market value of about $8 billion, but has nearly three times the revenue...."

"Shoppers Are More Likely To Buy Stuff When Models Aren't Super-Thin" (Refinery29)

"According to [Ben Barry,] a modeling agency CEO with a Ph.D. in business from Cambridge — studies confirm that consumers are 60% less likely to purchase from a brand featuring models who 'didn’t reflect their size.' Conversely, when certain women saw models who approximately matched their body types, their 'purchase intentions' increased by 300%....


[S]imilarities in age, ethnicity, and other factors between the observer of a fashion campaign and its star also produce positive effects, while the industry standard of thin, white models had a correspondingly negative impact...."


[Ed. Maybe laws regulating model weight and airbrushing aren't necessary after all?  LOF won't, um, weigh in either way.  You be the judge: Barry summarizes his findings here.]


"Who Wants to be the Fashion Capital of Southeast Asia?" (Asian Fashion Law)

"Asian countries now appreciate the importance of fashion and in Southeast Asia countries are now vying for the title of ‘fashion capital’. Singapore, Indonesia (Jakarta) and Thailand (Bangkok) have expressed their interest in acquiring this title. This is no joke folks... being the fashion capital of Southeast Asia is an important title, because it comes not only with prestige and bragging rights, but the economic benefits will be tremendous. Lee Yi Shyan, the Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development in Singapore recently stated that the Asian fashion industry is growing rapidly and retails sales are expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2015...."

"[Lower-End, Cotton-Intensive Companies] Failing to Manage High Cotton Prices" (Daily Finance)

"If you're high-end footwear company Christian Louboutin, you have the flexibility to pass raw material costs on to your consumers. At around $2,000 a pair, very few interested buyers are going to notice a $25 price increase. On the other hand, if you're functional-if-not-fashionable Hanesbrands (NYS: HBI), it can be more difficult to pass on an increase in cotton prices. Hanes' first quarter reflected that hardship.... The company relies heavily on cotton for the manufacture of its clothing, and cotton rates, despite falling from 2011 peaks, still remain historically high...."


"Betsey Johnson Will Close Its Four NYC Stores After All" (Racked)

"At first, it was the general impression that Betsey Johnson stores in New York might be safe from closing, but then, the Columbus Avenue store announced that it would indeed be shuttering. This afternoon, we called the Madison Avenue, Soho, and East 60th Street stores and found out that they're all closing, too...."


[Ed. For two heartfelt homages to Bets, check out Rookie and this older post from The Guardian.]


[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.]