Monday, 11 March 2013

Isabel Marant hates copycats

Even if you have never heard of Isabel Marant, you will almost certainly have worn something inspired by one of her collections. She designs the kind of clothes that you can throw on and rush out of the door, but still look chic in. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, she didn't shy away from spurning those who copy her designs.

Perhaps her most famous creation of late has been her unique take on the wedge trainer, which has been copied incessantly for months. But Marant believes that "everybody who has the wrong one looks quite bitchy, very vulgar, when mine are not at all." Something to bear in mind when you're thinking about buying that £30 pair of dupes.

Isabel Marant fights counterfeiting constantly, and there's even a page on the brand's website dedicated to ensuring customers don't accidentally buy fake items. Copied and counterfeit goods have a huge negative impact on designers, not only financially, but also creatively. Marant points out that "as soon as you have an idea it's copied and you don't like it in a minute."

How do you feel about counterfeit goods? Would you rather save up for a pair of Bayleys, or buy a fake pair and five other pairs of shoes?

Bemsy x

Friday, 8 March 2013

'A Question of' Trademark Infringement

 A Question Of is a relatively young brand which was established in 2010 by three friends who believe in sustainable fashion. As a socially responsible brand, their clothes are made in Africa from organic cotton. 

So far, you're probably thinking that this is a great brand who have perfected the balance between cool and ethical clothing, and I most certainly agree. Where things start to go a little wrong is the belief that "their digital prints and slogans [are] developed in collaboration with a line of talented artists."

As can be seen in the photo above, A Question Of are currently selling tops with the slogan 'Hello Kitty'. Unless you've been hiding under a rock your whole life, you'll know that Hello Kitty is a little Japanese bobtail cat who was born in London in 1974, which is now a global brand worth $5 billion per year.

A quick trademark search on the Intellectual Property Office website confirms that, as I suspected, Hello Kitty is a registered trademark.

Trade mark EU006983282

A Question Of is potentially guilty of unauthorized use of a registered trademark. It does not matter if they intended to infringe the mark or not. The unauthorized use of the mark 'Hello Kitty' is also particularly contentious as the mark is so well known. 

What do you think about this issue?

Bemsy x

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Cara Delevingne trademarks her name

You've probably heard by now that Cara Delevingne, a lady who needs no introduction, has made the business savvy move of trademarking her name. She filed to register a trademark in December 2012 and was granted protection in January. 

You may have read some reports where the journalist was perplexed as to why Cara would want to prevent others from releasing items such as walking sticks and emery boards with her name on. Even Sara Karmali at was confused. What such journalists don't know, and obviously couldn't be bothered to find out, was that when you file for a trademark, you have to specify the classes in which you want trademark protection. So, Cara has protection in four classes related to fashion and accessories. It doesn't mean that she plans to release every product in every class. It's just the way the system works. You specify the class of goods, not the particular goods you plan to release. 

What I think is much more interesting than the speculation over Cara branded walking sticks and umbrellas is the fact that now Cara has trademarked her name, she has five years to put the trademark to 'genuine use' or the registration will be revoked (Trade Marks Act 1994 s.46).

What does this mean? Well, we can expect Cara branded goodies pretty soon as Cara is likely to want to assert her ownership of the trademark.

Cara will reap many benefits from registering her name, not least that she won't have to rely on the common law action of passing off, which is the only protection offered to the owners of non-registered trademarks, and which incidentally is incredibly hard to prove.

Bemsy x