Cartier and Alaia’s parent company, Richemont, is currently facing a $25 million lawsuit. Whether it it is #MeToo or MAC, beauty brands were currently embroiled in trademark battles. And a look at what is really going on in the Louboutin v. Van Haren case. Here is a handful of concise updates on some of the new lawsuits filed, developments in existing suits, litigation that might be brewing, and various other insights – including trends in law – that touch upon fashion, beauty, and sometimes, entertainment law.
Watson v. Richemont
Photographer Albert Watson, who has shot for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, created ad campaigns for brands ranging from Gap to Chanel, and lensed portraits of Alfred Hitchcock and Sade, has slapped Richemont with a $25 million lawsuit. (Note: According to the court’s docket, that dollar amount has since “been modified to None”).
According to Watson’s complaint, which was filed late last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Richemont – by way of its brand Cartier – made use of one of his copyright-protected works, “a photograph of a celebrity superimposed over a photograph of a leopard,” i.e., his image of Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger, without authorization.
Watson alleges that representatives for Cartier requested to use the image at issue for an advertising campaign, and when his agents declined, Cartier used the image anyway “for advertisements that ran last year, including magazines published by Idea Books, a publisher based in Amsterdam focused on niche art and fashion titles, like Self Service and Purple Fashion,” per WWD.
The complaint goes on to assert that Richemont has acknowledged that it “failed to secure” authorization from Watson before making use of the photo, as a result of which Watson claims has “destroyed the value of [the image] and other works of [his] that are not available for commercial purposes.”
Richemont is expected to file its response to Watson’s complaint by April 2018.
Louboutin v. Van Haren
“While ordinarily Christian Louboutin does not comment directly on pending matters, we are making an exception." Yes, Christian Louboutin - the brand - is speaking out following widespread mis-reporting of the latest round in its case against Dutch footwear brand Van Haren. Following the release of a non-binding opinion from Court of Justice of the European Union Advocate General Maciej Szpunar this week, the media had a field day summarizing the significance of the latest development. The result, according to Louboutin? “Misleading reports” from some of the most widely-read publications.
Hard Candy Says #MeToo
Beauty brands are proving interesting as of late when it comes to trademarks. Late last month American beauty brand Hard Candy, which is sold exclusively at Walmart, made headlines when the media uncovered that it had filed an application for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October for #MeToo for use on and fragrances. After being called out repeatedly by social media users, and writers, alike, many of which claimed Hard Candy was attempting to profit off of the women’s right movement, the company withdrew its trademark application.
After proactively abandoning its application, Jerome Falic, CEO of Falic Fashion Group (the company that owns Hard Candy), issued a statement, saying: "We planned to donate 100% of all profits arising from this trademark to #MeToo. Based on several public responses, we have abandoned the application. We will continue to support the work of this watershed movement and other causes that respect the dignity of women and all people.”
McGregor in a Different Type of Fight
Since his breakout fight against Floyd Mayweather in August, mixed-martial arts champion Conor McGregor has been putting in overtime expanding his personal brand. Not to be outdone by his fashionable opponent, McGregor announced this summer that he was teaming up with David August Heil for his fight night wardrobe and to debut a menswear collection with Heil in the spring of 2018, to be called August McGregor.
Now, in an attempt to federally register an array of trademarks with the European Union Trademark Office, McGregor has a new opponent: Estée Lauder’s MAC brand. Turns out New York-based MAC is none too pleased with McGregor’s pending trademark application for “Mystic Mac,” a nickname the MMA champ acquired for predicting his fights.
According to an opposition filing from MAC’s legal team, McGregor’s trademark could create a likelihood of confusion due to its similarity to its own handful of federally registered marks, and also confers upon McGregor “an unfair advantage” as a result. MAC goes on to allege that McGregor’s proposed mark poses a “detriment to the distinctiveness or repute” of its own MAC marks. Stay tuned ...