The Fashion Law Exclusive - They don't call it Nasty Gal for nothing. Turns out, jewelry designer Jamie Spinello has taken notorious copycat retailer, Nasty Gal, to court for copying her designs. You may recall that earlier this year, Austin-based designer Jamie Spinello's attorney sent Nasty Gal a cease and desist letter, asking the "Girl Boss" brand to remove the copy of Spinello's original "Art Deco Revival Necklace” design (which Spinello created in 2012) from its website. According to a statement from Spinello, Nasty Gal responded to the cease and desist in a classic Forever 21 way, claiming to have “no knowledge that this necklace was allegedly a copy of her design” and instead, placing all of the blame on its supplier, saying: “Nasty Gal did not create or manufacture the necklace.” Well, as of earlier this summer, Spinello slapped Nasty Gal with lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging Copyright Infringement and Vicarious and/or Contributory Copyright Infringement.
According to Spinello's complaint, which was filed against Nasty Gal and fellow Southern California-based retailer, 80's PURPLE, Inc., the two defendants "infringed [her] copyrights with knowledge that such acts were infringing, and have continued to procure, import, manufacture, cause to be manufactured and sell infringing jewelry after Spinello demanded that Defendants, and each of them, cease and desist from engaging in same." Moreover, the complaint states that such "acts of copyright infringement as alleged were, and continue to be, willful, intentional and malicious." As a result, Spinello is asking to court to order that the defendants be permanently enjoined from infringing her copyrights in and to pay her damages of $150,000 dollars per infringement, plus all profits that the defendants gained in connection with the sale of Spinello's designs.
Here is to hoping Spinello is victorious in her lawsuit and that Nasty Gal changes its way, as the amount of copied garments and accessories that are offered on Nasty Gal's site, alone, is truly outrageous. In addition, the praise for this company (and its manufacture and stocking of copies of an array of emerging designers) by the fashion industry is really off-putting. Countless publications, including Forbes, Vogue, etc., have given the Los Angeles-based fast fashion e-commerce site a nod, simultaneously seeming to forget the vast amount of design piracy, trademark infringement and copyright infringement (remember that Givenchy Rottweiler bag copy?) for which this site is responsible. More to come maybe … Nasty Gal (like its fellow design pirate, Forever 21, which, as of 2011, had reportedly been sued (and subsequently settled) on 50 different occasions for copying alone) likely has large sums of money allocated in its annual budget to make lawsuits (just like this one) go away.