California-Based Apparel Company Sues Ivanka Trump Brand for Conspiracy, Unfair Competition

A downright damning lawsuit has been filed against the Ivanka Trump brand and its intellectual property holding company, Ivanka Trump Marks, claiming that the First Daughter’s company has engaged in unfair business practices and conspiracy as a result of the Trump administration’s “favoring” of the brand.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed by San Francisco-based Modern Appealing Clothing in the Superior Court of the State of California, a state court in San Francisco, the plaintiffs take issue with the “unfair advantage that defendant Ivanka Trump Marks has gained from Donald J. Trump being the President of the United States and from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared, working for the President.”

The complaint states: That advantage is specifically prohibited by the Constitution and laws of the U.S. and the laws of the State of California. The effects of that unfair advantage are magnified greatly by marketing activities of defendant Ivanka Trump's officers and employees and the similar activates of Donald J. Trump, his family, his agents and employees and the White House staff and advisors, including but not limited to, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Sean Spicer.

Modern Appealing Clothing is bringing the case as a class action lawsuit on behalf of itself and all other similarly situated clothing and accessories businesses in California, stating that it “believes that based on news reports that, since the election, sales of defendant Ivanka Trump's women's clothing and accessories have surged several hundred percent compared to last year … because of unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent promotional activities by” Ms. Trump and the Trump administration.

The complaint goes on to state that defendant Ivanka Trump Marks and its employees have, since the election, "promoted the Trump brand by exploiting the power and prestige of the White House for personal gain, including but not limited to, piggy-backing promotion of appearances at executive brand and other governmental events.”

In addition to citing a claim of unfair competition, the plaintiffs allege that Trump is on the hook for conspiracy, specifically for “knowingly and willfully conspiring and agreeing among themselves to damage the plaintiffs financially by the unfair business practices alleged herein.”

As a result, plaintiff, which is a business that is similarly situated to Trump’s and thus, allegedly operating as a "direct competitor," is citing losses as a result of the defendants' unfair business practices, and is asking to court to certify the class action; preliminarily and permanently enjoin Trump for engaging in such unfair behavior; make restitution to the plaintiff for any monetary damages; and award any other relief the court deems necessary.

* The case is Modern Appealing Clothing, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, vs. Ivanka Trump Marks, LLC, et al., CGC-17-557575.