Designer Phillip Lim, who was awarded the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America Award for his excellence in accessories design, is paving new ground in the trademark arena, as well. Turns out, Mr. Lim's 3.1 Phillip Lim signature logo, which serves as his trademark in the U.S. and the other international markets where his ready-to-wear is sold, is owned by someone else in China.
The designer’s legal team has taken action against the Chinese individual who owns the 3.1 Phillip Lim trademark in China for use in the clothing and footwear categories, but in the meantime, the designer has introduced a new China-specific mark that will begin appearing on his pre-fall 2013 garments and accessories. As of now, all other markets will maintain Lim's existing signature-based logo.
The unidentified individual, who owns the trademark rights to Lim's signature logo, received full trademark privileges for it in 2007. So, while Lim had been serving the Chinese market since 2005, he was out of luck. Moral of the story: trademark your logos early, designers - both in the U.S. and abroad. Thanks to the Madrid Protocol, US-based trademark owner with an application filed in or a registration issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can file an international application, seeking protection in the 88 countries that are party to the Protocol. Other "Contracting Parties" include China, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, UK, and more.