Professional Digest

All of the important news and exclusive analysis you need, delivered to your inbox every Friday

Senator Marco Rubio said this week that he suspects that Shein and Temu are exporting goods to the U.S. made with Uyghur slave labor in violation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”). In an April 16 letter to Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Sen. Rubio asks the DHS to investigate Shein and Temu (citing “compelling evidence” unearthed by private firms and journalists that suggests that the two ultra-fast fashion retailers are facilitating the entry of goods made with Uyghur forced labor) and add them to the UFLPA entity list if they are found to be in violation of the law.

Specifically, Sen. Rubio pointed to a November 2022 Bloomberg investigation that found that Shein garments were made with cotton from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”), as well as the findings of a “digital vetting platform,” which determined that Temu has offered for sale in the U.S. various items that were made or sold by businesses located in XUAR.

At the same time, Rubio states that Temu, in particular, “lacks even a basic compliance or auditing system to ensure its products are compliant with UFLPA and has an unenforced code of conduct that prohibits the use of forced labor,” noting that the company “has admitted that it ‘does not expressly prohibit third-party sellers from selling products based on their origin in the XUAR.’”

Read More Here

Some Litigation Updates …

> adidas v. Thom Browne: The sportswear giant and fashion brand went before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Cir. week arguing over adidas’ bid for a new trial.

> Chrome Hearts v. Crocs: Chrome Hearts lodged a new TM infringement lawsuit against Crocs for adorning its clogs with “lookalike” cross accents. (For a deeper dive into Chrome Hearts’ TM portfolio, you can find that here.)

> Skechers v. American Exchange Group: Skechers filed a design patent lawsuit against AEG for offering up shoes with the “same scalloped opening as the patented Skechers Scalloped Opening designs.”

> Hermès v. Rothschild: Counsel for Mason Rothschild filed a reply memo this week, arguing that the court should reconsideration its rejection of his request for “clarification” of the scope of the permanent injunction previously issued in favor of Hermès.

> Authors Guild v. OpenAI: On the heels of an SDNY judge denying a group of plaintiffs’ effort to intervene in © actions waged against OpenAI, the plaintiffs are looking to appeal to the 2nd Cir.

In some deal-making (and other finance) news this week …

– Julie Zerbo
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Here are TFL’s top articles of the week …

1. A Running List of U.S. Copyright Office Decisions on AI Works. The U.S. Copyright Office granted a registration to Elisa Shupe for her novel “AI Machinations: Tangled Webs and Typed Words,” which she created using ChatGPT. 

2. What a Case Over Veuve Clicquot’s Color Mark Means for Other Brands. The EU General Court sent the case back to the EUIPO to reconsider whether VC provided sufficient evidence that the color mark acquired distinctiveness in 2 member states between the time that it filed its application for registration & the date of registration.

3. Will the FTC Really Block Capri, Tapestry’s $8.5 Billion Mega-Deal? Whether the FTC could successfully stand in the way of the proposed Tapestry, Capri merger, that would “depend on the FTC’s definition of the relevant market & what the HHI is.”

4. From Luxury Leader to Loss-Maker: What Went Wrong for Yoox Net-a-Porter? Sources say that the strategy behind its YNAP acquisition/operations & the failed Farfetch ventures have prompted investors to question Richemont.

5. What Does NAGHEDI’s Bid for a Woven Bag Trademark Mean for Bottega Veneta? The brand behind an increasingly popular collection of woven handbags is looking to register its interlaced weaving pattern as a TM – albeit not without some pushback from the USPTO. 

6. Making the Claim: A Dive into California’s “Greenwashing” Cause of Action. In Swartz v. Coca-Cola Companies, the plaintiffs accuse Coca-Cola of “greenwashing” under California’s Environmental Marketing Claims Act.

7. In case you missed it … Greenwashing, AI Washing Come Under the Regulatory Microscope. Both “greenwashing” & “AI washing” have been a focus of regulators as of late as companies continue to make marketing claims that cater to consumers and/or other businesses that run afoul of reality.