Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jovani Fashion, Ltd. v. Fiesta Fashions

In this case Second Circuit Finds Dress Designer's Copyright Claim Weak at the Seams and says that Jovani's Prom dress lacks copyright-able elements.

Your Underwear may be Going Green (Fashion Toxic Report)

Greenpeace  "Toxic Threads" Report
If you shop at Victoria Secrets that is. According to the blog Fashionista, many fast fashion and high end fashion companies are under moral fire for their negative impact on the environment through the use of toxic fabrics and dyes.

The fashion blog shared some of the negative reports investigated and released by Greenpeace, "an independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful but direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental" violators.

In Greenpeace's report, accurately coined "Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stich-Up", a total of 141 items of clothing, purchased in mid 2012 from 29 countries world wide were investigated and exposed for using toxic chemicals and polluting water- including Armani, Zara, and Levi's. The chemicals found included high levels of toxic phthalates and cancer-causing amines. (download the PDF report here).

On the happy end of this report, Greenpeace classified brands that have made a credible zero discharge commitment and are taking steps to implement the zero detox status. These brands, coined "Engaged Detox Brands," include H&M, C&A, and Marks and Spencer.

On the sad end of this report, Greenpeace classified the companies that have not made a zero discharge commitment as "Detox Laggards." These companies include Zara, PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger), Mango, and GAP. Also "'Detox Villans' are brands with little or no policy or programme for chemicals management, and no commitment to Zero Discharges" and include Espirit and Metersbonwe.

Victoria Secrets came under fire as a "Detox Villan" but it has committed to disclose discharge data from 80 percent of its entire global supply chain by the end of 2013. Read it here. As the most recognized apparel brand in the U.S., V.S.'s step signifies a possible influence and power over other fashion brands when it comes to being considerate and proactive towards the environment (so we hope).

So what can YOU THE CONSUMER do TO HELP? Greenpeace advises that we demand the governments and brands to act now to detox our rivers, clothing, and ultimately our futures. The government can list the hazardous chemicals and have a publicly available register of data on discharge emissions and losses of hazardous substances. Last but not least, Boycotting usually makes a powerful statement.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Suggestive Remarks: Netflix-like Fashion Services

Suggestive Remarks: Netflix-like Fashion Services: Over the past decade, there’s been this fad of utilizing the Netflix business model to make expensive accessories, well, accessible. T...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fashion Design Patents 101 :)
When a fashion company is looking to protect its intellectual property, there are three main protection forms: trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Since we here at the Fashion Legallaire blog spend alot of time focusing on  trademark and copyright protections and lawsuits, we want to spread the knowledge focus on patent protection.

Design Patents are a rare form of Fashion IP protection. Mainly because they are really expensive and take more time to become certified as opposed to its cousin protections, the trademark and the copyright. Fashion cycles and trends move very quickly so by the time you are granted a patent, the fashion item may be off the fashion scene.

So what is it? There are three types- one for designs, one for utility, and one for plants. We will only discuss the design and utility patents. "A design patent is granted to anyone who invents a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A utility patent is granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements" says the U.S. Patent Office.

About how much does it cost? ...about $2500-$5000 not including maintenance fees.

How long does it take to file and how long is the protection? The filing and prosecution process averages 18-30 months. Ownership of the design lasts for 14 years.

How does one succed in registering a patent? A successful registered patent is one of novel design meaning that no one has a previously designed product like it.

Let's look at some of the Fashion Designs granted Patents in the past few years...

1. Jimmy Choo for its Niagra heel made of plexi glass with seemingly floating flakes of silver.
Photo by Attorney Sarah Burnstein 

2. Hermes shoe.

3.Lululemon Astro Pant Patent which filed a patent lawsuit against Calvin Klein brand and G-III Apparel Group. Read my blog post about it here.

Lululemon Astro pant (left) & Calvin Klein (right)
4. Charles Philip Pozzi slippers (IP rights owned by Jumbo Bright). CP's shoes, featured in Saks, Shopbop, and Intermix, etc., were recently knocked off by Gap. Yes you heard right. GET THE SCOOP RIGHT NOW!!!!!! As the picture indicates, Gap's shoe knocks off the trademark, trade dress and patent infringement. Consequentially, CP filed suit in the Central District of California in Los Angelos in November 2012 to address these issues and also the legal issues of  unfair competition, trademark dilution, right of publicity, false description of facts, and other related causes of action.
The stripe design located inside the shoes is the issue, however the 2 trademark application for the stripes are currently pending. Also, there are 2 design patents for the "ornamental designs" of the stripes inside of the shoes.  More to come....

5. Alexander Wang for his Robyn hobo bag. Introduced in his  Fall 2011 collection, this "Bag with Corners" protects the structured metal corners of the bag and the attached metal feet. This patent protection lasts for 14 years and prevents others form manufacturing bags with similar corners for the term of the patent. It is likely that the patent will extend to his other bag styles with similar corners, such as Wang's Emilie, Prisma, and Marion styles (see below in second picture).
Wang's Robyn bag (left) & the drawing from his patent application (right)

Similar styled Wang bags. From left: Emilie, Marion & Prisma

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Karl Lagerfield finds Texas to be a Magical Place to Host the next Chanel Premier

Photo by John Aquino

Karl Lagerfield, Fashion Icon and current fashion organizer of the House de Chanel, surprised the world today when he reported to WWD that he will premier this year’s ready to wear Chanel line in Dallas, Texas. Last year, Chanel’s Metiers D’Art show was in Edinburgh, Scottland at a 600 year old Linglithgow Palace.  Skipping over the normal fashionable American cities like New York or Los Angelos, K.L.  explains why he chose the southern metroplex to premier Chanel’s latest ready to wear fashions.

It’s very important to do [a big show premier] in a very special way, because today, everything is shown on the internet and on television. When you have a show with only a girl coming out of the door, crossing a runway, it’s OK for fashion freaks but the public get[s] bored very quickly. There has to be something magical surrounding. []... I will go to Dallas. You know why? First of all, I love Texas. I love Texans. There’s another reason. When Chanel reopened, the French press was beyond nasty. The only press that understood it immediately was the American press, and Neiman Marcus gave her the Oscar for her collection, so I think it was a nice thing to go there.

 There is no date yet for the ready to wear Chanel fashions but as other things in Texas, this will be big.

Fashion Legallaire's Take: Major shoutout to K.L. for his love for Texas and Texans alike. The stars at night are shining bright *clap clap clap* deep in the heart of Texas... (too much? ok lol).

Friday, January 4, 2013

What All Start Ups Should Do for the New Year

As the New Year is in swing, many businesses should follow a few housekeeping rules.  Why? It’s no surprise that the U.S. is on the edge of a fiscal cliff.  Without financial recovery, we will fall into an even deeper financial hole. Also, we are about to experience the biggest tax increase in history.

So how does this affect business? Primarily, A new year offers the chance for a fresh start and the same can be said for your business.  Therefore, reassess your company and make the necessary changes moving forward. Secondly, with higher taxes comes lower payroll. Ultimately, the consumer will have a less disposable income which will decrease consumer spending, causing businesses everywhere to make less profit.

Below is a nonexhaustive list of tasks all start ups should do this new year.

First, businesses should reassess their business plan. Review your mission statement goals and expectations for the month ahead, both short term and long term. All of these items are key to the identity of a business and really affect your business brand.

Second, update your financials. When a business closes the books for the year, it should step back and ask the bigger question: what picture is the business in financially?  It should even go a step further and have a disaster recovery plan which allows it to bounce back (no matter how small) if your plans do not pan out.

Third, evaluate and update the social media strategy. Social media is a great tool to promote and grow a business and its brand. It should decide whether its current efforts are helping the business and if it should do more than it already is.

Fourth, a business should make an inventory check. Not only should a business count all the physical items within the business, but it should think about what it needs more of, or could get rid of. If the business is up to a level where it needs in house legal counsel and does not have it, then it should add that to its inventory.

Fifth and lastly, a business should always gauge its members' performance. How is everyone doing? Are they accomplishing goals and helping the business grow positively? A team is only as strong as its players.

Mastering your books and planning ahead is always a great game plan for success!

The Burches end the Feud with a Settlement

Kyle Eriksen
I love this moped btw!
After the fiery lawsuit filled with gossip and immature accusations, Tory and Chris Burch have settled their lawsuit. These two went a little below the belt when it was time to point fingers and pout about why the lawsuit began in the first place. Read all the juicy backdrop here.

As WWD reports, the two designers decided that much of Chris' stake in the company will be bought out by two minority investors- BDT Capital Partners LLC and General Atlantic. Both Burches owned a 28.3 % stake in the company but it is not public yet how much Chris will retain in the company.

At the end of this family feud, Chris even says that he is confident the brands continued success.

Kid President AWESOME YEAR Challenge!