Thursday, December 27, 2012

Drake Wants Royalties for "YOLO"? NO-OH!
You Only Live Once is a very common phrase. But 26 year old Canadian Rapper Drake wants royalties for any and everybody using the term “YOLO” for commercial use. 

On Instagram, Drake, dubbed “champagnepapi”, posted two pictures of the term YOLO used on apparel and apparently wants to be paid for their appropriation of the term that he helped popularize.

The first was a set of “YOLO” hats being sold for twelve dollars at Walgreens. Drake’s caption was “Walgreens…you gotta either chill or cut the cheque.” The next photo was a t-shirt for sell at Macy’s, in which Drake captioned “Macy’s…same goes for you.  (see both photos below)

However there are over 100 people that trademarked YOLO in the United states; and it is unclear whether Drake has applied for one himself.  But at this point it is a just a saying to him just as it is to millions of others around the world who say it. 

3 Pastels You need to Have in Your Closet

Making their way through 2012 and into the 2013, these colors are STILL a must have.

1. Light Azure (Blue). 2012-2013 has a blue crush. It's sweet and smart.

2. Rose (Light Pink) Pretty in Pink? Always! don't be afraid to mix this rose with biege, gold, black, tan, and pearls.

3. Mint Green (Light Green) Pale Icy Green is a very fresh hue.

Fashion Legallaire's Fav. Trend Alert: Tribal Wear

Harper's Bazaar February 2012 
To the left is a 2012 cover of Harper's Bazar showing sexy and timeless Demi Moore wearing a tribal embroidered strapless short dress.

Here at Fashion Legallaire, we love Tribal print because it is seasonal  adorned with any color/black-and-white, dressed up/down, different, and no print looks exactly the same.

A tribal wearer can always make a statement with his or her piece.

Whether worn on clothes, shoes, accessories, or on your nails, tribal art is a peculiar (in a good way) that looks good.
Being of Nigerian decent, I have always been familiar with tribal print. As a girl and teenager, my mother would always let us pick a fabric of choice (African Wax); and from there we would take it to the tailor to make beautiful outfits (dresses, play suits, pant suits, tops).
African Wax Designs from

African Wax at
As of late, I'd say the past three or four years, tribal wear has commercialized and I think it is hear to stay. It looks good on everybody!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Largest Counterfeit Bust in Port History

Everything is BIG in Texas-even the counterfeit. Last week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protections Import Specialist Team took down its largest counterfeit in port history at the Port of Laredo, Texas seizing 7,800 fake Audemar Piguet watches. WWD reports that custom officials verified the seizure amounted to a retail value of $83 million dollars. Additionally, this bust is the second significant seizure of Piguet trademarks this year.

Sidney Aki, CBP port director at the Laredo Port of Entry says, "As we approach the Christmas holidays, seizures like these help reassure both the trade community and the public that CBP remains committed to ensuring that recorded trademarks are protected and the American consumer is protected from counterfeit merchandise."

Also, WWD also reported another big holiday bust. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations announced a bust of more than $2 million dollars from retailers in Puerto Rico. Officials seized 4749 counterfeit items infringing on the trademarks of 38 brands- Adidas, Armani, Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Cartier, Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.

Special Agent Angel Melendez got it right when he made this statement:
The illegal importation and sale of counterfeit goods is a significant problem that affects our economy, impacts American jobs and innovation, puts the public's health and safety at risk adn at times threatens our national security. Consumers should know that if they buy pirated, counterfeit and/ or unlicensed products, they are hurting legitimate business and they may also be facilitating criminal activity.

Fashion Legallaire's take: Please do not support counterfeit sales. It really does sting the economy. Plus, it is just not fashionable at all. Tack factor much?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mixed Chicks Win Big Against Sally Beauty Supply for Trade Dress Infringement (Fashion law includes hair and beauty products as well)

Who says that a small company cannot protect its rights against a bigger one? Surely not Mixed Chicks (MC). MC is a company that sells hair products for the naturally curly haired woman.  Like every great hair product, many salons and beauty supply stores wanted a piece of the hair line including Sally Beauty Supply Company (Sally). However the two retail shops never came to an agreement.  So when MC found out that Sally was selling a very similar product named Mixed Silk, in a similar bottle and packaging, including color and print, it sued them for trademark and trade dress infringement.  Check out the pictures below.  Even worse, is that Sally used MC’s webpage search engine to direct consumers to its Milk Silk products.  

After MC requested that a California court order Sally to discontinue the sale of its product and take down its logo on their website, the jury not only answered in the affirmative but awarded MC $8.5 million dollars. That’s a huge win against a multi-billion dollar company like Sally.

Counter Culture Beauty Blog reports a response from Kim Etheredge, co-founder of MC. Etheredge. She tells

 We’ve worked hard to build the reputation of the Mixed Chicks product as one of high quality. We want our clients to know that the Mixed Silk products have no connection with our products, and Mixed Chicks has not endorsed or authorized them.

This instance is a bit shocking for Sally because not only do they sell great name brands but they also sell inexpensive store brand products that can be likened to the name brands they sell. The Sally store brands are named “Generic Value Products” (GVP) and are all packaged in black and white design. Also, the products even tell the customer which hair product to compare it to right on the bottle.  Check out the package design of a Sally GVP version of the more expensive brand below-Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. 

At least this way, Sally is playing it safe with the GVP products. So why did they not do the same with Mixed Silk? They probably could have avoided having to pay out $8.5 Million dollars. 

Fashion Legallaire's take: I love that fashion law includes health and beauty products. Even though it is a small niche, it is a window of many issues and includes various products. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pre-Fall Women's Trend Alert

1.   Lace – Racy Lacy gives a class and feminine touch and a touch of sex appeal no matter if the silhouette is a blouse, dress, shoe, bolero, or glove.

Photo By Thomas Iannaccone

2.   Pointy Shoes- The pointy shoe gives a strong and sharp finish to a nice pant. 

Photo By Thomas Iannaccone

3.    Rich Earthy Tones- Embrace the darker side of gorgeous by wearing rich earthy tones of wine, forest green, and black.

4. Texturize your Wardrobe-   This season is all about shearling vests, mink coats, leather, camel wool, and cashmere. 

Photo By J. Mendel

5.  Manicured Toe Fronts- whether a metallic or bold color, manicured toe fronts set fashion statement for your shoes.

6. Patterned Hosiery- Like lace, patterned hosiery creates a unique and sexy silhouette.

Photo By

Is the Counterfeit Croc Sentence a Forward Step in the Chinese IP Market?

As WWD reports the Chinese Croc counterfeiters were sentenced to more than 46 years in prison this past weekend for selling 128,752 knockoff pairs of Crocs. “Seventeen individuals were convicted of counterfeiting, three individuals were convicted of offering bribes,” WWD says. The seized plastic clogs and flip-flops were estimated at a value of 60 million renminibi or $9.6 million dollars. In addition to the jail sentence, the counterfeiters face fines totaling 2,832,500 RMB or almost $450,896. Mr. Dan Hart, the chief legal and administrative officer for Crocs, said that the company would take definitive action to protect any infringing production or selling of its intellectual property.

This sentencing is a major move forward for the PRC because many in the intellectual property world know of the difficulties of enforcing protection of intellectual property rights in China. As the U.S. International Trade office (USITC) reports in the publication “China: Effects of Intellectual Property Infringement and Indigenous Innovation Policies on the U.S. Economy”, many U.S. companies have reported that China’s infringement on IPR rights have undermined their competitive positions. So naturally U.S. firms reported losses in sales, profits, and license and royalty fees, stolen trade secrets, as well as damage to brand names and product reputation. Even worse, these firms’ products and technologies are forced to compete against sales of illegal, lower cost imitations. The publication also states that China has the largest number of Internet Users in the world and makes online infringement in China a significant concern for U.S. IP-intensive firms.

To realize the impact that Chinese IP infringement has on U.S. firms, let alone the global IP community, the USITC estimates that U.S. firms’ reported losses from IPR infringement in China amounted to about $48 billion in 2009. A wide range surrounds this estimate, as many firms were unable to calculate such losses. Furthermore, the economic markets that experience Chinese infringement hit are: information and other services; high-tech and heavy manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; consumer goods manufacturing; and transportation manufacturing.

So many businesses spend a fortune to protect their intellectual property; including registering IP rights in every country where it conducts business. In 2009, almost $4.8 billion was spent to address possible Chinese IPR infringement alone. As a result from the Chinese hit, many firms reported lower revenues because they lowered their prices in the China market or reduced the number of products they sold in that market. After all Avon Exits 2 Asian Markets

But just maybe this Chinese ruling and sentencing in the Crocs case is a step forward to more pro-action by Chinese courts to uphold and protect IP rights. After all, the cases were tried in district courts located in Shanghai Yangpu and Dongguan City. Lastly Dan Hart said, “The lengthy prison terms and heavy fines handed down in these cases show that Chinese authorities are very serious about assisting us to eradicate the production of counterfeit Crocs products in China, and so are we.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Video Game "Grand Theft Auto" Accused of Image Likeness and Misappropriation

In the world of video game law comes another lawsuit that involves claims of stealing ones likeness. First  was the group No Doubt who won its case against Activision for fraud and breach of contract in the video game Hero. In this case the “Don’t Speak” singers did not agree and authorize Activision to have their images sing karaoke. The two legal parties settled out of court. More recently in video game wars is a whopping  $250 million dollar lawsuit between Micheal Washington, backup singer of Cypress Hill (though the band denied any affiliation) and video game developers Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games. Washington alleges that the developers used his likeness in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, when they made the main character “CJ”.

Washington claimed he met with the game developers in 2003 to talk about his troubled youth and “street life,” and then six years later he saw himself portrayed in the video game.  However if a reasonable observer objectively looked at the two men, they would agree with the court ruling that “Plaintiff is relying entirely on CJ’s physical appearance in the game but that appearance is so generic that it necessarily includes hundreds of other black males.”

 The character CJ appears to be a black male. But that is the only resemblance I could find between Washington and he because CJ wears all sorts of clothing. However, I did find a similar photo and it seems as if Washington depended on that depiction of CJ in court. This depiction is of CJ wearing a white wife-beater, gold chain, and a series of tattoos. Therefore, the court got it right to rule in favor of the video gamers because in Sunny California, a black guy in a wife beater with tattoos is not out of the ordinary.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Growing Impact of Social Media on Businesses
In this day and age the new marketing scheme for many businesses is using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). Social Media helps business market its brand, recruit, and connect with its consumers. According to, in a survey of just 600 small businesses, ninety percent of them use social media. On a larger scale sixty-six percent of business use social media nationwide.  But why is social media so important for a successful business?

The answer is as easy as it takes to sign up for a Twitter account and start “hash-tagging” your company name and products. IBM  says that with the effective use of social technologies, organizations can integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices and sensors and more easily align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions. This is why social media is so important. Furthermore, IBM says, “social technologies would be imbedded into the core business processes.”

So now let’s look at some social media statistics. Socially Aware Blog reports that social media accounts for eighteen percent of time spent online. 100% of Advertisers have established Face book pages for their brands. Fifty-six percent of people in the U.S. have a social networking profile and twenty-two percent of people in the U.S. use social media several times a day.

Take Twitter for instance. Twitter is a social media site in which users make status posts- nothing more nothing less. You can connect any user by using the “hashtag” in conjunction with whatever keyword you want. Socially Aware Blog states that a Twitter user spends 6.75 hours a month on Twitter. While 6.75 Hours is less than one day, it only takes a fraction of a second to tweet. In fact 50 Million tweets were made per day in 2010 with 1400% increase from 2009 according to Twitter Blog; and that number is increasing steadily.  So you can imagine that the average tweets a day today in 2012 are well over 50 million knowing that Twitter has grown.

Concluding, social media is a great bandwagon to jump on if you want to grow your business and make it more marketable. 

Who owns the Social Media Account, the Employer or Employee?
When an employee attorney leaves a law firm, there are many issues to consider. Among the most important is protecting the interests of the firm and the exiting lawyer’s clients. For example, all of the exiting lawyer’s client’s files are notified that their attorney is leaving, and they should be given the option of remaining with the lawyer, the firm or any other counsel of the client’s choosing.

 But does this law apply to social media such as a company’s Facebook  Friends and Twitter Followers-i.e., when an employee leaves a law firm, can he or she take the company’s social media fans? Asked another way, does the employer or employee own the social media account?

In the case Phonedog v. Kravits also known as the  PhoneDog Twitter case, an employer sued its former employee who took over the Company’s Twitter account (which he started), by changing the Twitter handle (name on the account), password, and taking all 17,000 followers with him. The blog Employment Law Daily reports that Phonedog asserted claims of misappropriation and conversion, intentional and negligent interference with a prospective economic management, and mismanagement of trade secrets, proprietary and confidential information. Phonedog even calculated that it suffered $340,000 in damages because each twitter follower is valued at $2.50 a month. By the way, your Facebook Privacy is worth only $10.

Phonedog employed Kravits as a product reviewer/blogger. Granted, Kravits was not an attorney but his job description paralleled to that of a law firm attorney in that he obtained future clients through the company’s Twitter account. A court never decided whether Kravit's job description was enough for Phonedog to keep the twitter account. The two parties eventually settled the matter for undisclosed terms. But if we want to see how a court ruled on a similar matter we look to the Eagle v. Moran case.

In Eagle v. Moran, a similar social media case involving LinkedIn where the company changed the employer’s LinkedIn account, password, and display after she acquired connections, the court dismissed the employer’s federal statutory claims but refused to dismiss her state law misappropriation claims. Further, the court ruled that LinkedIn connections are not company trade secrets

However the blog Employer Handbook gave some insightful advice when it comes to how to deal with the ownership of corporate social media accounts:
1.       Write a strong social media specific agreement which clearly indicates the rights and expectations of the company and its employee. The more social-media language it contains, the better. Most importantly, spell out who owns the account.
2.       The company should register the account so that it has some ownership stake within the account. Also consider the terms of use that any social-media company has in place for end users.
3.       3. Change the password when employees leave. This will reduce the risk that the employee lock’s you out of your account.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rei Kawakubo to collaborate with Hermes for a Scarf Collection

Abstract, unique, and Hiroshima-chick, three ways to describe the artful work of Japanese Designer Rei Kawakubo.  As an untrained fashion designer with backgrounds in fine art and literature, much of the world’s aesthetic opinion of Kawakubo described her as an artist rather than a fashion designer. But soon after the launch of her fashion company, The Comme des Garcons, it is no surprise that many fashion houses appreciate the artist that she is and embrace it.

Kawakubo has worked with some of the best and most commercially successful brands and fashion houses to date: Fred Perry, Moncler, and H&M. In the last fashion handbag season she brought a fresh and artful ├ęclair to Louis Vuitton by adding colored polka dots, shapes, and other contemporary concepts.

Thankfully, Louis Vuitton will not be the last luxurious collaboration that Kawakubo takes on. Most recently she has placed her unique stamp on French luxury brand Hermes and will design scarves. WWD reports that the collaboration, called Comme des Carres, will launch in February 2013. The collaboration has two limited edition collections: Noir et Blanc and Couleur.

Noir et Blanc is reminiscent to Kawakubo’s beginnings in fashion design for it features abstract black-and-white designs. It is set to exclusively sell in Tokyo, New York and Paris pricing out at 380 euros.  Coluleur, the second line, is reminiscent of Kawakubo’s the artist for it features six colorful scarves. It is set to exclusively sell in London and Tokyo. Hermes described the Coluleur collection as a hybrid, rewriting the traditional narratives of the Hermes carre; and includes geometric elements like giant patchwork, Vichy checks, and shirt stripes.  It will price out between 380 and 1600 euros. 

I love Rei Kawakubo btw!

Basic Contract Law Challenged and Why Ryan Leslie Must Pay Up

When you are a talented producer or songwriter, you cherish the lyrics and records you make. They are the product of laborious hours and can make you a fortune. As song lyrics and records are an artist’s intellectual property, he or she goes to many lengths to protect them. But would you offer $1 Million dollars if you lost your laptop filled with your songs; and would you really have to pay such a large quantity of money?

That is surely what Grammy-nominated, musical genius, producer, and singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie did, reports. While on his European tour in Cologne, Germany Leslie lost a bag containing his MacBook, a passport, and $10,000 in cash.  He said his laptop contained his whole new album and publicly announced a reward of $1 million dollars “in the interest of retrieving the invaluable intellectual property” to him.

Sometime later a man named Armin Augstein responded to Leslie’s announcement claiming he found the laptop while walking his dog; but Leslie refused to pay him claiming that Augstein’s find was “fishy” because the laptop no longer contained his songs. Naturally, the lost and found men took this argument to a Manhattan Court and the jury agreed with Augstein and ordered Leslie to pay up the $1 Million Dollar reward offer.

The jury correctly decided this issue of basic contract law in regards to an offer and an acceptance of that offer. When a person makes an offer in exchange for another person’s performance , as Leslie did, then the person making the offer is legally bound by the offer if the other person so performs.  In this case, Leslie made a $1 Million offer in exchange for another person to find and return in his laptop, the performance.  Therefore, since Augstein performed the terms of Leslie’s offer by finding and returning his laptop, Leslie is legally bound to pay him.

However, Leslie is not the only artist to lose his songs.  Multi-Platinum selling rapper Drake has lost 3 Blackberries filled with his lyrics. The blog “Much Music” interviewed Drake and he told them, “Yeah, I’ve lost a lot of great stuff.  [I] Lost some of my hottest versus down at Cabo.”  Drake also admitted that if he backed it up and was responsible then he would not lose his work.

Fashion Legallaire's Take: Hopefully Leslie learned two valuable lessons: do not make offers he will not keep and to back up his music  files just in case he loses his laptop. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hostess' Intellectual Property Portfolio worth $135 Million

After a 10 year financial decline, the maker of Twinkies, Wonderbread, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and host of other goodies (pun intended) filed for bankruptcy and closed shop. But after being in business since we all can remember, just how much is Hostess’ intellectual property (IP) value?

Well, in a February bankruptcy filing, Hostess valued its IP portfolio such as patents and trademarks, at $134.5 million. Also, the court gave Hostess permission to pay 19 top-level executives as much as $1.75 million bonuses as long as they meet certain benchmarks in managing the liquidation. 

Wha?!! Ambercrombie and Fitch Hit with Yet Another Discrimination Lawsuit  reports that The Council on American Islamic Relations filed a complaint against apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for firing a Muslim employee who refused to remover her hijab, a head scarf which has varying religious connotations in the Muslim faith.

Umme-Hane Kahn, a 19 year old young lady, was told when she was hired as a stockroom worker that she could wear her hijab at work. She fervently wore her hijab until this month when a district manager who came to visit told her that scarves and hats did not fit the company's "look" and sent her home.

Sadly, this is not news because this is not the first employment discrimination complaint that has been filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity commission over discrimination at Abercrombie and Fitch. Remember the 2004 agreement I blogged about which involved A&F paying out a $50 million agreement with the EEOC for its recruiting practices, which allegedly involved hiring mostly white mean and women? (read it here).

Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that employers may not discriminate against individuals because of their religion and must accommodate employee religious practices unless doing so would create an "undue hardship" for the employer (in which wearing a hijab is not an undue hardship), some people and places fail to abide by this law and work regulation.

Fashion Legallaire's Assessment: Do the right thing people!

Balenciaga Confirms Alexander Wang as the New Creative Director

After a few days of swarming rumors about who Nicolas Ghesquiere’s successor would be as the new creative director of Balenciaga (Ghesquiere quit after 15 years  but on mutual terms), Balenciaga confirmed that the new creative director is Alexander Wang.

“The Balenciaga fashion house… are proud to welcome Alexander Wang, whose proven talent, modernity and individual and cosmopolitan vision of design will naturally embrace and enrich the unique heritage of this fashion house,” said Balenciaga President and CEO Isabelle Guichot.

While Balenciaga is known for its innovative sculptural shapes and vivid colors, Wang is known for his street sensibility. And many agree that this collaboration is a powerful one. Francois-Hermes, PPR ( Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) Chairman and CEO says, “Wang will use his creativity and his own research to reinterpret and immortalize the distinctive, modern and extremely innovative style imposed by Cristobal Balenciaga.”

"I am deeply honored to embark on this new role for a brand and a house that I have such a great admiration and respect for,” Wang stated in a press release by Balenciaga.

Guichot also said that she did not want to put Wang under unnecessary pressure and that the two will figure out the pace of next year together, for it is an important transition for the brand.  Wang will be responsible for designing the women’s and men’s ready to wear and accessories collections which will debut in 2013.

We definitely know that the new direction of Balenciaga will be a good look but for all of you Wang fans, do not fear because he is still keeping his independently run label.