Trademark disputes are a common aspect of business litigation in Oregon and nationwide. Sometimes it is a battle of giants, where a company claims that one of its competitors has used a trademark that is deceptively similar to its own. It can be a small company being challenged in a business litigation case by a large company claiming that the startup has tried to use the larger company’s own special brand identification to its own use. There may be a claim for damages for the lost profits caused by deceiving the public into buying the product with the pirated trademark, and a request for an injunction.
In one case that has recently attracted attention, the Italian luxury fashion brand, Gucci, has sued Forever 21, an American fast fashion chain. It claims that Forever 21 has usurped its trademark of multi-colored stripe webbing that appears on certain products. The complaint alleges that Forever 21 has challenged Gucci’s most valuable and widely known marks.
A duly registered trademark is a proprietary right of its owner, and it cannot be used in the same class of goods or services by another company. Companies get very possessive about such rights. This is because they have marketing and advertising campaigns and other projects that try to develop a universal identification by the consuming public of the company’s product or service through recognition of the special mark and other art work that is part of the mark. The case was filed in a federal district court in another state.
The business litigation filing had been preceded by a wave of cease-and-desist letters that Gucci sent to the retailer regarding the stripe webbing. The items in question allegedly included certain bomber jackets, a butterfly jumper, a green tiger jumper and a choker, with each using he stripe webbing. Gucci alleges also that Forever 21 is widely known for usurping the trademarked brands of designer companies and selling the products so marked for large discounts. The brand theft alleged by Gucci was a nationwide effort by Forever 21, with the alleged violation occurring in Oregon as well as throughout the country.
Source: businessoffashion.com, “Gucci Escalates Legal Battle with Forever 21“, Sarah Shannon, Aug. 8, 2017