When your in-laws start tearing out articles for you to read about certain designers being sued for the 100th time, you know you've spoken your mind sufficiently. Though this suit is about 6 weeks old, its prickly effects are still felt like freshly shaven skin on a cold winter morning. (Credit to Fashionista for the story and image at left.)
Filed in the District Court of Eastern New York (all trademark/copyright suits are federal matters, imagine how difficult the arena would be if each state had its own spin on IP law), the suit alleges various grounds for relief, including trademark infringement, copyright infringement, counterfeiting, and "other wrongful and tortious conduct." (Click here for the full text of the complaint.) Though those may sound like some fighting words that pack a punch, in the reality of fashion law, they will only mildly graze the cheek of the oft challenged middle market retailer, who is no stranger to such legal conundrums (Alexander McQueen tried their hand at stopping the madness in October.)
Though I'm personally enraged by such outright fakes, some people believe this is just good old fashion competition, and they may be right. After all, what is true capitalism without a little oppugnancy? (I haven't been able to use large words in weeks, as I'm paying my dues for being out of work for so long right now with menial tasks and mind numbing projects.) But there is a stark contract between a knock off and a utilitarian item, the latter being ripe for reproduction. (For one, trademark law does not protect functional instruments or components of articles that are classified as 'useful' and therefore anticompetitve if protected for exclusive use by the creator.) I often ask where the line should fall, because I keep coming back to this central issue in the IP wars.
I think certain retailers (ahem) should move on to new frontiers and think on their own two feet, rather than swiping whats on the feet of those to their right.