Sunday, June 22, 2014

Make the Stain #1: Did River Island Knock Off the Nike 5.0 v 4 Trainers?


As fashion celebrates a new year for spring and summer 2015 Fashion Legallaire is proud to announce the first ever "Make the Stain" edition.

River Island Instagram Account 
Make the Stain is akin to "spilling the tea."  As we spill the tea in the fashion world, we will point out some possible fashion knock-offs or copy cats.

Our first contenders are the River Island trainers verses the Nike 5.0 v 4. Check out the running trainers from River Island in black and leopard print. They look very similar to the Nike 5.0 v 4 trainers in black- right down to the outer sole. The only thing missing is the Nike check on the sides and the Nike tag on the tongue.

Price? The River Island trainers are $50, half the price of the Nike 5.0 v 4 trainers which cost $100.

Not really sure about the quality of the River Island trainers but the Nike trainers definitely is a great running shoe.






high shoe market

Style.com


New Balance filed suit against Karl Lagerfield for knocking off his sneaker design. In this trademark case, NB claims that Karl's shoes causes confusion. You can read more of the story at TMZ.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Louboutin Loses Trademark for Red Soles in Belgium, Luxemborg, and the Netherlands

We all remember the Louboutin case against Yves Saint Laurent involving the fight for his trademark registration for his red soles right? Well Louboutin eventually won that case- after appealing. The U.S. court granted a ruling in Louboutin's favor meaning that the court used U.S. trademark laws to analyze the issue in order to reach its conclusion.

More recently, in March 2014, Louboutin challenged his registered trademark in a Belgium Court against Dutch retailer Van Dalen Footwear B.V., who also sold red soled shoes, and ended up losing his trademark. Conclusively, this ruling invalidated his trademark in Belgium, Luxemborg, and the Netherlands. The Judge followed Belgian Trademark Law that states a trademark that adds substantial value to a product is void. And since Louboutin's red soles substantially gives value to his shoes, his trademark is void. This reasoning sounds similar to the "functionality" prong of U.S. trademark law in regards to articles of clothing and the like- which reasons that it is illegal to make a monopoly on the functional, technical, or aesthetic value of a product. Truth be told, where would fashion be if the first person to create a pair of pants owned all the rights to create and sell a pair of pants? The fashion industry would be stifled and this is partially the reason why there is no current copyright protection for clothing (excluding fabric designs/patterns).

But wait; there's more. Back in 2012, Louboutin also lost his red soled trademark in France when he challenged fast retail merchant Zara. The French Court ruled that the red bottoms failed for lack of distinction.  Read the case here.

At this point you may be wondering how can the U.S. grant Louboutin's trademark valid while Belgium and France deny it as invalid. Well since there is no universal intellectual property law, every country can make its own laws as it applies to patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Therefore, it is very important for global fashioners to register his or her fashions in different countries paying attention to the applicable intellectual property laws. It is even more important to make sure that you have a watch dog to make sure that no one is infringing on your intellectual property rights.

Fashion Legallaire's Tip: Fashion Law is well established in Europe and definitely has more years as a profession than does the U.S. However, every country is different when it comes to intellectual property. But perhaps, Louboutin should possibly step his intellectual property game up and register for a design patent. A patent is more expensive, takes more time, but offers more protection. Design Patents can protect the way a product looks but the product must be of novel design. Louboutin may not have invented the red bottomed stiletto, but his influence definitely makes it of novel design. DVF did not invent the wrap dress but she has a design patent; so if she can, Louboutin can. For more information on design patents, read this earlier post here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fashionable Technology and Intellectual Property Rights

Fashionable or wearable technology is the new wave of right now and of the future. We can print in 3D, wear smart glasses, and even shop online with a personal stylist. In fact, e-commerce has taken the place of many traditional stores. Wearable technology is also evident in the merging of tech and fashion, two industries that we probably would not have ever put together until now. Intel Corp. is joining forces with influential brands in the fashion industry such as Barneys New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Opening Ceremony to explore the markets of smart, wearable technology that consumers would desire. Read more about the merge here.

As a Fashion Legallaire, I have to ask whether fashion technology is the crux that could help push copyright legislation for fashion.Of course technology has to be patented for its functionality and ingenuity, but my current research of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)  leads me to believe that just like fashion, copyrighting technology does more harm than good by stifling innovation, mainly through a misapplication of the DMCA law, and through a designer's fear of getting sued. Some experts really do think that copyright law hurts technology.
Zackees Turn Signal Glove (Zackees)


 To answer this question I spoke with Robert Burns Nixon, CFO and Board of  San Francisco Fashion Week Inc, the largest nonprofit fashion industry education and economic and development in California. If anyone knows a thing or two about wearable technology, Nixon is more than qualified. He works with different organizations and groups dedicated to the development and business of fashionable technology including Fashion Tech Week and SXSW, the world's preeminent music, film, and interactive stage.

Nixon says
The first approach for technology integration in luxury products may be to simply expand, extend or refresh the brand's signature fundamentals, but technology does allow a much broader area of design, development and new strategic partnerships which should add up to stronger and more defensible fashion "property" rights. I also belong to the Law of Fashion group here on Linkedin and they tend to have current and spirited coverage of recent legal developments and industry ramifications - however, I've yet to find any in depth fashion law discussion around the implications of wearable tech, which makes it one of the more interesting areas to watch!

He is absolutely correct. The merging of fashion and technology is definitely an interesting area to watch. It means more innovation and more jobs. For example, Femgineer highlights the importance of female engineers and women who code at e-commerce retailers such as ModCloth, to grow more leading ladies in tech.


If you want to see more fashion technology in your neighborhood then check out these upcoming national events:

1. Fashion Tech Week   Feb. 24 -Mar. 2  in San Francisco, CA
          *Features fashion, design and technology brands, leaders, startups, and strategic development events including Retail + Tech Summit, Wearable + Tech conference, and San Francisco Fashion Lab.

2. SXSW Accelorator Pitch Mar. 8-9 in Austin Texas
         *Interactive Week is Mar. 7-11; Music Week is 11-16; and Film Week is 7-15

3. Fashion Law Week Fashion Tech  Feb. 24 - March. 2 in Washington, D.C.
          * Learn about the law of fashion in a digital market place.





Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chanel via Karl Lagerfield in Dallas for Metiers d' Art Show

Kristen Stewart in Chanel
Elle's Fashion Boudoir Blog
As we reported earlier this year, Karl Lagerfield is currently in Dallas for the Metiers d' Art Show. Guests included Vogue Editor Anna Wintour and Kristen Stewart, the campaign face of Vogue.

Vogue.com reports: 
The show features a Paris-Dallas collection of Texan and native Indian influences. Guests are seated in vintage convertibles in a custom-built drive-through cinema to watch Lagerfeld’s new film ‘The Return’. The film is about Coco Chanel’s comeback collection of 1954, which was only well-received by American media and buyers, in particular the Dallas-based department store Neiman Marcus. The patronage received from Neiman Marcus effectively saved Chanel from closure and was the impetus for Lagerfeld’s choice of Dallas as this year’s M├ętiers D’Art destination. 


Tomorrow, Neiman Marcus will present Anna Wintour with an award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. The luxury fashion store once presented this award to to Lagerfield in 1957 in Dallas, Texas.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Beauty Law: Mascara is Exempt from Mercury Ban at United Nations' Minamata Convention

brassariealize.blogspot.com
On October 10, 2013, over 140 nations negotiated and signed a United Nations Minamata Convention pact designed to limit mercury use and emissions. As a result mercury mining, certain batteries, switch and delay units, and light bulbs were banned. Even certain soaps and cosmetics were banned but mascara was not; and Stacy Malkan, cofounder of the advocacy group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, asks why. Malkan says women should not put something so toxic close to their eyeballs. 

Mascara is known to contain mercury but not enough to be pulled from store shelves. EnvironmentalandHealthNews.Org reports that although soaps and cosmetics containing more than 1 part per million of mercury will be banned by 2020, mascara and other cosmetics are exempt because of concern that there are no other safe alternatives. But Malkan, disagrees. She says that there is no reason that a known neurotoxin should be allowed in any of these products because most companies have already found alternatives, they just have not been using them.  Instead of using mercury, some major brands use phenoxyethanol, methylisothianzolinone, parabes and formaldehyde releasers, but such substitutes may not be benign. formaldehyde is a carcinogen for example, but none of the substitutes is as toxic as mercury. 

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration allows mercury in eye cosmetics at a concentration of up to 65 parts per million. In fact, the FDA does not require ingredients that comprise less than 1 percent of a cosmetic product to be divulged on the label, so if you did not know, you would never know from reading the label.

But is a little mercury in mascara bad? Scientific research proves the helpful use of mercury. Mercury acts as a preservative and a germ killer to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi that could spoil the products. Joanna Tempowsi, a World health Organization Scientist says that "the risk- benefit analysis favors the use of these preservatives." Kristin Adams would disagree. Adams is the chief executive officer of Afterglow Cosmetics, a natural and organic cosmetic company, and she believes that the big cosmetics companies use preservatives to extend shelf life. She says, "the large companies are looking for a 5 year shelf life or the cosmetics will go bad very fast."

Fashion Legallaire's take: As of right now, mascara is not banned from the mercury treaty but there should be careful consideration in its use. For starters, one should not use the same mascara for more than three months because reuse exposes it to air and the eye, multiple times causing bacteria to form. Always wash your makeup off every night especially around the eye areas for they are the most sensitive. Facial pores grow its own bacteria let alone more caused from makeup use. For more environmental health news visit www.environmentalhealthnews.org. For more fashion environmental news, read our article on the Fashion Toxic Report. 





New York Law Now Protects Child Models

This week serves as a happy time for child models in New York because NY governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new child performer law which includes protection for runway and print models under the age of 18; and specific accommodations for those under the age of 16. As a front runner in the fashion frontier, it is a shame that NY did not already include child models in its labor laws.

Before the passing of this law, a child performer in the state of New York was anyone under the age of 18 in the artistic or creative services (New York Arts & Cultural Affairs Law sections 35.03 and 35.05). Only that models were excluded from this law. Consequentially, a child model had no legal recourse for any child labor law violation. Child Models need health, educational, and financial protection too. They work long hours, sometimes miss school, experience financial mismanagement, and are may be subject to very egregious violations such as sexual abuse so it is very important that they have legal protection. Check out our post on Model Law 101.

Many model supporters in the fashion industry knew that it was time for a change. Under the leadership of Sara Ziff, fashion model, and founder and director of the Model Alliance (MA), MA proposed  a petition to give child models the same legal protections as all child performers on June 9, 2013. The bill was introduced by Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, State Senate Labor Committee Chairwoman Diane Savino, and House of Asseblyman Steven Otis. Subsequently, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed it. Now that it is signed into law, it goes into effect after 30 days.

What changes can NY child models and employers expect to see?

  • designation of a responsible person to supervise their work place if they are under 16
  • employers must provide nurses and pediatric care on hand at all times
  • a healthy and safe environment
  • teachers with a designated work space for tutoring/education, breaks and snack times (aww)
  • no working earlier than 5 a.m. and no later than 10 p.m. on school nights; and no later than 12:39 a.m. on non-school nights
  • the child or parent's guardian and employer must transfer at least 15% of the child's gross earnings into a separate bank account
Fashion Legallaire's tips: It is always best to consult a fashion attorney to make sure that you are following employment practices with your fashion company. Nobody wants to be known as violating child rights so make sure that you understand the law well and follow it. Make sure that the area is safe and healthy for your child models, their families, and your staff with the necessary health and educational professionals on hand with designated work areas. Lastly, when in doubt, if you do not need a child model just hire an adult model. On top of other legalities, hiring a child model requires more legal documents like work permits, certificates, and more contracts so cross all your t's and dot all of your i's . 


Hopefully this new American law will bring change in other fashion industries of the world. Many European countries are notorious for harsh conditions when it comes to child models.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whistleblower Rick Bourke of Dooney and Bourke Jailed for White Collar Crime

www.bloomberg.com
Don't blame the whistleblower or do you? In today's fashion law report, we have Rick Bourke, cofounder of  the luxury hand bag company Dooney and Bourke, and the corrupt Azerbaijani oil deal. The american businessman and philanthropist is caught in the midst of white collar crime and is another whistle blower jailed under the Obama Administration.

Democracy Now reports that since May 2013, Bourke has been held in federal prison serving a term of one year and one day for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for alleged knowledge of a bribery that took place in 1998. After blowing the whistle on the fraudulent scheme by international criminals to gain control of the oil riches of the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, Bourke's guilt has been questioned.

His charges include conspiring to pay bribes to government leaders in Azerbaijan as part of a risky scheme to buy the state oil company in the former Soviet republic. After an unsuccessful appeal, he was ordered to pay $1 million in fines.

As a major investor in the deal, the fact is not made certain whether Bourke was a victim, criminal, or mere whistleblower. While the question awaits to be answered, Bourke remains as the only person behind bars in custody at Englewood maximum security in Denver, Colorado. Bourke claims that he was defrauded by the oil scheme's promoter Victor Kozeny. Kozeny was not charged but referred to in court as the "Pirate of Prague."

Bourke's attorney, Michael Tigar asks, "Why is it that the United States government, having seen that the District Attorney's Office has caught Kozeny, a thief- why is it that they would go after the guy that blew the whistle on the thievery and bribery, Rick Bourke?"

More of the story here.