Despite CHANEL's extensive efforts to police its easily recognizable and highly valuable trademark, brands continue to stamp double-C's on their wares to tap into CHANEL's longstanding appeal. The latest perpetrator: Los Angeles-based online retailer, Nasty Gal. The retailer describes its Fancy Bones Tee (above left) as an "oversized black tee featuring a cream 'CC' bones print." That 'CC' looks a little bit too similar to the classic CHANEL logo.
The initial CHANEL double-C trademark was awarded to the French company in 1925 and since, CHANEL has acquired over 50 other marks in various classes of goods ranging from clothing to surfboards. Unless Nasty Gal acquired a license from CHANEL to use the logo, the French design house has a solid trademark infringement suit. If Nasty Gal were to face an infringement suit, its arguments are quite limited, namely because it is clearly using this very CHANEL-like mark for commercial means, and not just once but on several products: see their Banana Split tee and their Fancy Fire tee.
Joseph Forgione, the Director of Trademark Enforcement at the Gioconda Law Group, also noted the similarity between the retailer's bone t-shirt and CHANEL's logo. Forgione, who previously worked in the corporate legal department at CHANEL, INC. told The Fashion Law:
Nasty Gal is currently advertising and selling a product that bears an obvious copy of the world-famous CC Monogram, which is a trademark owned entirely by CHANEL. CHANEL has the exclusive right to use this trademark, one that is based not only on the company's various federal trademark registrations for the mark, but also on its extensive and worldwide use of it throughout the course of many years. Nasty Gal is not only trading on the goodwill inherent to the CHANEL trademarks, but it is also engaging in commercial conduct that constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition, and dilution. They're in trouble.