Fresh from the runway to the front pages of the internet, fashion designs are now instantly available for anyone to examine and copy. However, designers are not without legal protection. Fortune reports that major fashion brands like Tory Burch, Belstaff, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, and Alexander McQueen are successfully utilizing trade dress and design patent laws to defend and protect their creations from pirates.
In this episode of Fashion Counsel, partner Anthony Lupo reviews trade dress details with Intellectual Property partner Allan E. Anderson. The video covers defining trade dress from trademarks, how to establish trade dress and file for ultimate protection, and finally, how to defend against unwarranted action.
On Monday, November 30, 2015, Nordstrom and denim manufacturer AG Adriano Goldschmied filed a motion to approve a settlement in California federal court, agreeing to pay more than $4 million to settle a consumer class action suit that accused them of falsely labeling jeans as “Made in USA.” The settlement was agreed upon in October 2015 after over a year of intense litigation.
Plaintiffs brought the case against both the manufacturer, AG, and the retailer that sold AG jeans, Nordstrom, and alleged various claims under the California consumer protection laws and business and professions code. The class action claimed that AG jeans’ fabric, thread, buttons, rivets, and certain subcomponents of the zipper assembly were manufactured outside of the United States.
What’s the News?
Background on the Case
Urban Outfitters, Inc. – the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, and BHLDN – recently settled an overtime wage and hour class action brought by one of its employees who alleged that he and others similarly situated were forced to work overtime without appropriate pay and that the Company violated a number of other California labor laws. Berry v. Urban Outfitters Wholesale Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 4:13-cv-02628.
What’s the News?
The Legal Backdrop: Milton H. Greene Archives, Inc. v. Estate of Marilyn Monroe, LLC
The E-Warranty Act of 2015 was recently signed into law, amending the Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, to permit manufacturers and sellers of consumer products the option to post written warranties online, rather than on the product or accompanying printed material as is required under the current law. In passing this amendment, Congress explicitly noted that the electronic warranty option would not only provide an environmentally-friendly way to expand consumer access to relevant product information, but it would provide additional flexibility to manufacturers in terms of complying with labeling and warranty requirements.
Many of the clients that we advise are nervous about data protection, cyber issues, and the privacy of their customers and employees. Who can blame them? Every day we read news about another privacy breach. Some of the companies that we counsel are light years ahead – talking coding strategies and testing for vulnerabilities – while others are trying to determine how to be compliant and implement internal protocols in response to a breach.
Has Estee Lauder built such significant brand value that a retailer is doomed if it cannot stock Estee Lauder’s products on its shelves? This is the question Duty Free Americas asked a federal appeals court to once again consider after both the district court and the appeals court said “no.” The courts’ decisions confirm that manufacturers usually are free to choose with whom they will deal, and who may be cut off.
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