#Trademark Tuesday

Tuesday Tips about Trademark Protection.  Let’s talk about protecting your brand.  wpid-img_20151005_232954.jpg

Advertisements

American Cancer Society’s Pink & Black Tie Gala

This will be my 3rd year serving on this committee and I am so grateful to have met Tamara Ehlin.  She has worked for the ACS Brooklyn Office for several years and has led the Pink & Black Tie Gala to great success.  Sad to see her leave, but the foundation she established for this event will forever be remembered and the fight will continue.

I have been touched by Cancer in several ways.  My Aunt passed four years ago, my dear friend died last year, and I have friends effected by this disease in their own lives.    Knowing that I can be part of an organization that is dedicated to the awareness and cure of this disease helps me honor those I have lost.  That is why I have volunteered my time and will continue to do so.  I implore you to volunteer however you can in support of this cause.  It would be great to attend this event, but if there is another way you would like to participate then those opportunities are also available.  You can be a sponsor, be part of the Auction by donating an item or service from your business, and/or volunteer. 

We have a great line-up for this year’s Gala.  The Honorees are phenomenal in bringing awareness to and supporting those effected by cancer.

Health Care Leadership Honoree

Kathi-Ann Joseph, MD, MPH

Volunteer of the Year

Kangol Kid

Business Leadership Honorees

The Daily News

NU Hotel Brooklyn

Please go to the Pink & Black Tie Gala page and read more about our amazing Honorees!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks again to Tamara!  I wish you all the best!

DLee

@pinkandblacktie

#BKGalaFightsCancer

Gucci vs. Guess…The Battle of the G’s

Who is going to prove who’s more gangsta.  Fashion companies seem to always be at war where trademarks are concerned.  So, who will prevail as the biggest G?  I predict Guess.  If you look at some of the patterns of these cases, the underdog always wins.  The one that is accused of the infringing seems to come out as the victor when major Fashion companies are involved.  This suit was filed three years ago and has only recently went to trial.  Gucci accuses Guess of using their famous logo and designs causing confusion among consumers and of course dilution of the brand.

Reports: Victoria’s Secret Garments Made by ‘Undernourished Children Who Were Beaten With Branches’

Reports: Victoria’s Secret Garments Made by ‘Undernourished Children Who Were Beaten With Branches’.

Child Labor issues have come in to play when companies such as Victoria Secret manufacture goods overseas.  A notable case was the Kathie Lee Gifford brand sold at Wal-Mart.  The National Labor Committee directed a campaign against the brand in 1996.  Since then many companies have developed compliance/monitoring programs to prevent the exploitation of children and prevent unfair labor.

Companies take several steps to ensure transparency about the conditions and the standards of labor in these factories.  Some have collaborated with NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) to ensure transparency of their compliance programs and assist in implementing these programs.  U.S. Organizations such as Fair Labor Association, Social Accountability International , Business for Social Responsibility, and Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production offer assistance in developing compliance programs, collaborating with members within these organizations as well as accrediting the programs.

In this instance it seems that a 2008 report was produced by the National Federation of Burkina Cotton Producers stating that thousands of children were made to work at these Cotton Farms used by VS.  VS claims they never knew about this.  If this is true, then VS needs to take a deeper look at their auditing/monitoring and enforcement programs.      I’m going to go out on a limb and say that VS probably does have a code of conduct compliance department, most likely headed by legal.  However, perhaps protocols weren’t set in place or executed properly ie working with internal and external monitors to get the proper information about what was going on at these farms.

Work this out Vicky!  Perhaps read the reports assembled by your collaborators.

TO CATCH A THIEF

A classic and entertaining movie by Alfred Hitchcock.  Grace Kelly is beautiful and of course graceful and that handsome Cary Grant.  Can we all get a cat like that or at the very least an honest John Robie, watch the movie to follow my cheeky dialogue.  The iconic fifties dresses and style is seared into my memory.  Much like the movie, to catch a thief in the fashion world can prove to be near impossible, but with persistence it can happen.

John Robie, named the “Cat” in his burglary days, was being copied and framed.  He is finally vindicated when the  impersonator is caught.  However, in the fashion world when designs are copied not many impersonators are found or for that matter pursued. I speak not for the bigger designers like DVF that are able to go after most of their infringers.  I speak of the independent up and coming designers that don’t have the means of constant monitoring of their designs and/or trademarks.

However, there are a few inexpensive ways you can prevent the Cat from stealing your vision:

1) Google Alerts:  Set up alerts with Google to stay abreast on your industry.  Additionally, these alerts can tell you if other companies have set-up websites using your company name.

2)USPTO:  You can check the Trademark Office’s database in order to see what trademarks have been filed.  However, if your trademark is registered before the Cat it should be rejected based on the similarity marks and the likelihood of confusion.  If your trademark is governed by common-law you can still challenge the validity of the registered trademark if you can prove that your use was of trademark was in the public domain before the infringer.

3) Cease & Desist:  If you are unable to retain a full-time attorney, you can still consult with one to draft a cease & desist letter for you.  You can definitely draft a cease & desist letter on your own behalf, but perhaps the weight of legal representation may get the matter resolved quicker.

4)Policing E-Commerce Sites:  To prevent and limit the sale of counterfeit goods you can check sites like E-Bay, Amazon, Alibaba and Google.

5)Social Networking:  Create company’s official website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Ning accounts to avoid confusion.

With the basic tools in hand you can catch your thief!

The materials contained on this website are designed to enable you to learn more about Fashion Law.  This website is for informational purposes only. The materials provided on this website do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.

TOP BRANDS DILUTING THEIR OWN PRODUCTS?

Good Morning to the Versace enthusiasts that stood on line to get into H&M at 8 a.m.!  I already see that some are selling the line on  e-Bay for $750.00, in a similar fashion to the Missoni line put out by Target a few months ago.  The thought of dilution of a brand brings to mind the deterioration of a brand due to the counterfeiting of its goods, like Burberry a few years ago, for instance.  However, now brand dilution or brand extension is a strategy employed by many designers.  Is it coincidence that top brands are linking up with stores like Target, Kohl’s, and H&M?

At first glance it appears that due to the economy top brands are creating fashion lines for the masses to expand their audience and their profits.  This very well might be true, since dealing with big department stores can put them in a position that does not yield a profit if the merchandise is not sold, or marked down.  But, to play devil’s advocate or an attorney, some say they are interchangeable.  Let’s say they are doing it to stay a step ahead and in some way prevent copying of their clothing.  It seems that they could be taking a strategic step in diluting their own brands in a positive way.  The thought process being “Before they do it, we will do it and make money from it.”

Remember Forever 21, known for copying a dress of a top designer in the very moments of seeing it walk down the runway.  Why did Vera Wang create a bridal line inspired by Kim Kardashian’s gown for David Bridal?  In essence she is knocking off her own designs.  She found a way to capitalize on a market, thereby cutting off those designers that live to copy.  So, do luxury brands like Versace and Missoni take away from their top-selling lines by creating these lines for the masses.  I believe in the long run, if done right, no they won’t but it also depends on the luxury brand and the overall marketing strategy for the high-end line and the new line made for the masses.   We will follow how this new business model unfolds for these top luxury brands.