The most important and/or ridiculous fashion law news of the week (Oct. 15-19, 2012)
While you can, and should, get daily updates from LAW OF FASHION's official LinkedIn group (and even more frequent updates from the LAW OF FASHION and Charles Colman Law, PLLC Twitter feeds), LOF has decided that it's been a crazy enough week for fashion law to warrant a brief roundup of the most notable and/or absurd news of the past few days. (For more serious reading, check out the draft introduction of this writer's working article on the "hypertrophic growth" of U.S. trademark law.) And now, without further ado...
"... Prom and pageant dress designer Jovani Fashion Ltd. ('Jovani') brought a copyright infringement action against Fiesta Fashions ('Fiesta') in the District Court for the Southern District of New York for allegedly copying decorative aspects of Jovani’s designs. Jovani’s claim of copyright protection is founded upon the idea that the design at issue combines features which serve both decorative and utilitarian purposes, but can be separated from the article and function independently. The District Court dismissed the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. On Monday, the Second Circuit dismissed Jovani’s appeal, affirming the lower court’s decision...."
"... Companies like Sesame Street Workshop don’t actually manufacture their own merchandise, instead they sell the licensing rights to various manufacturers. Even then, merchandise still has to pass through brand assurance to get the ok.... Sesame Street does license costumes through a costume manufacturer called Disguise. The [licensed] women's Big Bird costume is cutesy, but still modest enough not to be scandalous. [As for the unauthorized 'Sexy Big Bird' Costume, however]...."
"... YSL's strategy is clever, if perhaps a tad too cute: it seeks to dismiss the throwaway counterclaims (for 'tortious interference' and 'unfair competition' under New York law) with prejudice, but asks the court to dismiss the important counterclaim (for cancellation of Louboutin's red-sole trademark registration) without prejudice, meaning the latter issue could be raised again at some point in the future.... In other words, YSL wants to preserve the option to seek cancellation of Louboutin's trademark registration, perhaps at the TTAB or in a later federal-court action; it just doesn't want to go to the trouble and expense of doing so right now...."
"The actors and models who worked on an Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) Gulfstream G550 jet had crystal-clear rules for serving Chief Executive Officer Michael Jeffries. Clean-shaven males had to wear a uniform of Abercrombie polo shirts, boxer briefs, flip-flops and a 'spritz' of the retailer’s cologne, according to an 'Aircraft Standards' manual, disclosed in [another] discrimination lawsuit [-- this time] brought by a former pilot...."
"New York modelling agency Ford is attempting to sue two of their former models for $1million dollars each. The renowned agency claims that Alana Zimmer and Karolina Waz, both of whom have appeared on catwalks for prominent designers, each broke their three-year U.S. management contracts by signing with rival agency Men Women NY Model Management. Additionally, Ford is attempting to sue Men Women NY Model Management, or simply Women as it is known, for $2million, claiming that they 'poached' the two women…."
"The men's apparel company [HMX Group], which has been struggling financially for several months, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday morning. The owner of brands such as suit makers Hart Schaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman listed liabilities exceeding $50 million and assets of less than $50,000. According to the filing, the company has entered into a deal to be bought by Authentic Brands Group, the West 33rd Street-based licensor of labels including Iron Star, Silverstar and Marilyn Monroe.... Roughly 30 creditors are owed money...."
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