After being threatened with an employment suit from Dolce & Gabbana in December, Philipp Plein has been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit from Perrin Paris. The French leather goods company filed suit against Plein in a German court, alleging that the fashion brand has copied its design patent protected “glove-clutch."
As set forth in the complaint, which was filed in Hamburg late last month, Plein's version of the bag is “the exact duplicate, same size, same design, same concept [as the Perrin clutch]." The only difference according to Perrin? Plein "added a skull.”
The suit further alleges that counsel for Perrin contacted Philipp Plein prior to filing suit, asking Plein to cease its sales of the bags. Perrin alleges, "We were given the impression that they would remove it from distribution. But recently, we realized that they were continuing to sell them in their outlet stores, at a discounted price.”
Per WWD, while it seemed as though the matter was already set for settlement, that does not appear to be case anymore. Perrin executive, Michel Perrin, whose great-grandmother launched the brand, confirmed that before Plein was due in court, the German firm contacted Perrin Paris requesting to settle the matter. Specifically, Plein sought a settlement offer from Perrin, which the French company provided. However, the deadline for Plein to make its own offer was last week, and the company failed to abide by the agreed upon timeframe.
As of now, Michel Perrin said his family's company is set to litigate the matter. He told WWD, “We’re now entering into a legal phase, with two goals: one, to have them remove the bags from their distribution; two, to get a compensation — a percentage of the sales they generated with the clutch. They probably sold between 1,000 and 2,000 clutches in their 80 stores and few hundred resellers.”
As of Monday evening, one of the clutches at issue - Plein's Kindness clutch - was still available on the company's e-commerce site. Described as a "Unique clutch impeccable to spice up your looks," the bag is being sold for $2,180.
UPDATED (Jan. 12, 2018): According to a statement from Perrin, the court has handed it a favorable ruling, and as a result, Plein has been ordered to pay an undisclosed monetary sum. Michel Perrin, the chief executive officer and chairman of Perrin, told WWD that the brand is “very pleased” with the court’s decision. He further stated that "the court's [decision] not only reinforces the value of our unique Perrin designs, but continues to legitimize the importance of protecting intellectual property, original creativity and the integrity of design."