If you’ve ever wondered what the “lifestyle” of a Porsche driver looks like, look no further than Porsche Design’s latest fashion catalog. Twenty-three glossy pages of sleek leather jackets, modern business blazers, and retro-futuristic day-to-evening wear attempt to define what Porsche drivers look like, what they wear, and what they do in their free time. Porsche is selling more than just a vehicle—Porsche is selling a lifestyle.

Continue Reading Four Wheel Fashion

The fashion industry is finally loosening its buttons—several decades and a few billion dollars in advertising later, retailers are moving away from using high-priced models and exotic locations to lure customers. Instead, many brands are promoting their designs by relying on every day images of existing customers wearing their products. Consumers- specifically, young women- are flaunting their personal style through social media platforms and retailers are embracing this outlet as a means of engaging customers. Recently, a Wall Street Journal article [1] highlighted this new phenomenon, explaining that retailers’ “embrace of real-people photos feeds the needs of young consumers for connection.” Candid street style is quickly becoming professionally-styled advertising’s more popular younger sister, and retailers are adjusting their business strategies to catch up with consumer behavior.

Continue Reading Hashtagging Away Your Rights: Privacy and Publicity Rights in Social Media

On October 15, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Jovani Fashion, Ltd. v. Fiesta Fashions , Docket No. 12-598-cv, 2012 WL 4856412, holding that the prom dress artwork of fashion designer Jovani Fashions, Ltd. (“Jovani”) lacked copyrightable elements, and thus, could not be infringed by a competitor’s design. Though not a precedential decision, the opinion serves as both an important reminder of the absence of copyright protection afforded the fashion world and a streamlined instruction on the scope of and limits on copyrightable elements in works of fashion.

Continue Reading Jovani Fashion, Ltd. v. Fiesta Fashions: Second Circuit Finds Dress Designer’s Copyright Claim Weak at the Seams

By Robert Magielnicki

On October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued revised “Guides For The Use Of Environmental Marketing Claims” – the “Green Guides,” 16 CFR Part 260. The Green Guides originally were issued in 1992 and were revised in 1996 and 1998. The review resulting in the latest revisions began in November 2007.

The Green Guides set forth the FTC’s views concerning environmental claims and are intended to help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that are unfair or deceptive and thus violative of Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law and thus do not have the force and effect of law. However, the FTC can take action under the FTC Act if a marketer makes an environmental claim that is inconsistent with the Guides.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Revised “Green Guides”

By Tyler Baker and Ted Max

On September 5, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its long-awaited and highly anticipated decision in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc., Docket No. 11-3303-cv. The Second Circuit reversed the lower court decision, in part, holding that Christian Louboutin’s “red outsole” trademark was valid and enforceable, and affirmed in part, holding that such trademark protection was limited to uses in which the “red outsole” contrasts with the color of the remainder of the shoe. As a result, the appeal of Christian Louboutin (“Louboutin”) was not successful and the fashion atelier Yves Saint Laurent (“YSL”) was not enjoined from using a red sole as part of a monochrome red shoe. The ruling, deciding a novel and hotly debated issue of U.S. trademark law regarding aesthetic functionality, is a victory for both sides in some respects, yet certainly leaves the door open for future debate and lawsuits about the scope of the Louboutin mark’s protection.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Digs Its Heels Into Louboutin Dispute; Finds “Red Sole” Trademark Protectable, But Limited in Scope

By Victoria Lee and Ted Max

In this hyper-digital age, the designer brand’s focus has gradually shifted from primarily print advertising media to reaching consumers through the Internet and many forms of social media with branded entertainment in the form of short fashion films. The fashion film trend pairs fashion brands with famous directors and actors to produce beautiful and easily-accessible short films, which feature the brand and highlight certain seasonal fashion designs or product lines. These films impact an advertising and marketing message while also appealing to consumers’ artistic sensibilities.

Continue Reading Fashion Film Art Movement

Though the news of Nike’s exclusive deal with the NFL broke some time ago, the agreement will officially go into full effect this month and the look of Monday Night Football is about to change. Replacing adidas, this will be the first time that Nike, who was a NFL supplier in the mid-nineties and has maintained individual deals with players, will exclusively supply all 32 teams. The deal, for which Nike reportedly paid $1.1 billion dollars, covers the entire player’s uniform including jerseys, belts, pants, socks and gloves.

Continue Reading The National Football League Decides to “Just Do It”

By Tyler Baker

Luxury brand titan Louis Vuitton recently achieved a significant victory over counterfeiting of its designer products. In an action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Louis Vuitton sued the Eisenhauer Road Flea Market, its owner, Bruce L. Gore, and its manager, Patricia D. Walker, for contributory trademark infringement, alleging that the defendants had failed to prevent vendors from selling fake Louis Vuitton goods at the flea market. See Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Eisenhauer Road Flea Market, Inc., No. SA-11-CA-124 (W.D. Tex.). Louis Vuitton stated that counterfeit “LV” products were abundant at the flea market and that Louis Vuitton had given Gore and Walker sufficient opportunities to discipline their vendors that engaged in phony sales. Louis Vuitton alleged, notwithstanding this notice, that Gore and Walker chose to be “willfully blind” to such infringing activity. Gore testified that he warned market tenants not to sell counterfeit goods, only to have those vendors nonetheless engage in distribution of bogus items after they said they would not.

Continue Reading Louis Vuitton Achieves Genuine Victory Over Flea Market’s Phony Sales

By Shannon King

The multi-million dollar trademark and trade dress dispute between Italian fashion label Gucci and American designer Guess?, Inc. ("Guess?") marches on toward trial as Judge Shira Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York largely rejected Guess?’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss Gucci’s claims on February 14, 2012. The Court granted summary judgment and dismissed Gucci’s claims for monetary relief on the basis of federal trademark dilution as to two designs but left the majority of Gucci’s infringement claims untouched.

Continue Reading Battle of the G’s Rages On: Gucci’s $124 Million Trademark and Trade Dress Infringement Lawsuit Against Guess? Withstands Summary Judgment

THE SITUATION IS ASKED NOT TO COVER HIS SITUATION WITH ABERCROMBIE ANYMORE

Abercrombie & Fitch issued a press release offering The Situation (of MTV’s The Jersey Shore fame) "substantial payment" to stop wearing Abercrombie’s clothes. The company’s main concern is brand dilution. The press release explains the company is worried that The Situation’s "association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image" and that this association "is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans." Whether this was a clever public relations strategy to generate publicity about the brand during the important back-to-school season or whether it is a legitimate branding issue that had something to do with the dip in Abercrombie’s stock following the press release remains unclear. What is clear, however, is that people are talking about it. Common wisdom is there may be no such thing as bad publicity; however, it cannot be ignored that Abercrombie’s stock fell sharply the day following the press release.
 

Continue Reading REALITY BITES – Brand Protection, Reality TV Style

As we previously reported here, Christian Louboutin ("Louboutin") filed a lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent ("YSL") in early April, alleging that YSL and its affiliated companies violated Louboutin’s red sole trademark by selling women’s shoes with red uppers and outsoles alleged to be virtually identical to Louboutin’s red sole trademarks.
 

Continue Reading YSL Fights Back By Seeking To Cancel Louboutin’s Red Sole Trademark