Been Trill is policing its trademark, filing a trademark infringement lawsuit this past week in the California Central District Court against online retailer, Jimmy Jazz, and two wholesale clothing companies. If you’re not familiar with BEEN TRILL, it is “an art collective and DJ crew whose image and sound is defined by the frenzy of new youth culture found on the pages of the deep web and on the blocks of big cities.”
GQ put it in a more straightforward manner, saying: “It’s a streetwear brand that—thanks to the Internet—has now become ‘a thing.'” You’ve probably seen their wares (think: t-shirts with the words “BEEN TRILL” on them). Well, it seems other brands have noticed the appeal of the brand, which consists of Matthew Williams, Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, Justin Saunders, and YWP, and are trying to tap into it.
Case in point: Hudson’s Veteran’s League Jersey, which reads TRILL across the front, as well as Visual’s coincidentally(?) named “Trill” tee. Both garments are available on Jimmy Jazz.com.
Hudson also wants to channel the appeal of Givenchy, too, as indicated by their nearly exact replicas of the Paris-based design house’s Madonna print bomber jackets and fighter planes tee.
So, does BEEN TRILL have a case against Jimmy Jazz, Hudson’s parent company Skincraft (which apparently named its company after LA-based streetwear brand Skingraft) and others?
Probably. The brand has a federally registered trademark over its name, but since it only extends to “DJ services, art exhibitions; [and] providing on-line art exhibitions”, that obviously won’t help them here. The brand does, however, have an array of pending trademark applications, which, if registered, will cover everything from address books, notebooks, rulers, and folders (BEEN TRILL school supplies, anyone?) to bedding (weird), bags and backpacks, and clothing.
Some of these obviously make more sense than others. But the registered v. non-registered distinction is not necessarily a deal-breaker here. As you may know, it is important to note that trademark rights are not actually acquired by registration, but rather, they are acquired when a trademark (Been Trill in this case) is used in commerce (aka sold, which BEEN TRILL has doing been doing for awhile now online and now at their recently opened brick and mortar store at 271 Canal Street in NYC). Federal registration does provide a number of important benefits, but that is a discussion for another day.
BEEN TRILL is asking the court for injunctive relief to prevent the companies responsible for these shirts from making and selling them and to keep Jimmy Jazz from selling the shirts on its site. In addition, the brand wants monetary damages.