In this episode of our Fashion Counsel Executive Series, Fashion leader Anthony Lupo sits down with Kevin Plank, the CEO & Founder of Under Armour, to discuss the famous ESPN Magazine advertisement that put Under Armour on the map, the rise of fashion’s influence on athletic apparel (and vice versa), major competitors and celebrity endorsements, and international strategy, particularly in China.
In a recent case in New York, J. Crew Group, Inc. sued one of its former designers, Dwight Fenton, for breaching its duty of confidentiality, unfair competition and misappropriation, alleging that, when he left the company to work for a direct competitor, he took with him trade secrets and other confidential business information for use at his new job.
J. Crew claims that, before leaving the company to join the competitor Bonobos, Fenton used the company’s e-mail address to send confidential and proprietary J. Crew documents to his personal email address, such as product design specifications and measurements; J. Crew’s 2013 production development calendar; contact information for J. Crew’s key manufacturing resources; and design inspirations.
In a recent decision, the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio rejected ADA claims against JPMorgan Chase, finding that the company had reasonably accommodated the plaintiff during an extended period that included both intermittent and continuous FMLA leave. Johnson v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. No. 2:11-cv-00373-EAS-EPD (S.D. Ohio, February 6, 2013).
What Is Derivation?
Derivation occurs when one obtains an invention from another. As the US moves from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system under the American Invents Act (AIA) on March 16, 2013, derivation is an issue in two contexts: (1) as an exception to novelty defeating acts; and (2) in derivation proceedings that replace interferences.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) affirmed a decision rejecting Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc.’s (Lululemon) trademark application for a large version of its logo as used on the front of hooded sweatshirts, jackets and coats. While the TTAB recognized that the appearance of oversized logos on clothing and fashion items was becoming more frequent and could be protectable, it held that Lululemon failed to provide sufficient evidence to meet the standards for registrability.
A California federal jury determined two floral designs manufactured into garments imported by Ms. Bubbles Inc. and sold in Aeropostale stores, infringed copyrighted designs of a snowflake and a rose owned by Plaintiff LA Printex. The Defendants argued the textile designs lack valid registered copyrights, were never marketed and were created during the litigation, however, after two hours of deliberation, the federal jury found Aeropostale infringed the textile designs and there was willful infringement by Ms. Bubbles. The verdict is in favor of the Plaintiff on all counts in the liability phase of the trial.
The California Attorney General recently filed two lawsuits in state court against Chinese and Indian apparel manufacturers, accusing the companies of obtaining an unfair competitive advantage over US firms through the use of pirated software. See People of the State of California v. Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co., Ltd., No. BC499771 (Cal. Super. Ct. Jan. 24, 2013); People of the State of California v. Pratibha Syntex Ltd., No. BC499751 (Cal. Super. Ct. Jan. 24, 2013). The twin complaints seek, among other things, injunctions barring the defendants from distributing their products in the State of California until they can certify their compliance with the licensing requirements of all production-related software programs, as well as civil penalties of $2,500 for each violation of Section 17200 of the California Business and Professions Code and payment for the costs of the lawsuits.
Two recent defamation cases highlight the risks involved in suing former customers or clients for defamation based on the posting of negative online reviews on Internet review websites such as AngiesList.com and Yelp.com. Not only does a defamation claim run the risk of igniting free speech concerns in the context, but filing a weak claim could expose a company to liability in states that have strong anti-SLAPP statutes.
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