Briefing: October 21, 2022

Third quarter earnings reports came from a number of groups this week, including Kering which provided some insight about its trademarks in Russia. In a Q3 call on Thurs., which largely focused on the slowdown of Gucci and the success of Saint Laurent, Bottega, and co., CFO Jean-Marc Duplaix revealed that Kering is “taking time to assess the situation” in Russia, noting that it’s “not a simple question.” The group has “strictly applied [sanctions] rules,” and closed all of its stores in Russia (a “few” Gucci outposts and one Boucheron store) in March, with Duplaix saying that even before the closures, Kering did “not have a huge exposure to Russia, and especially not through direct operations.” The group will continue to monitor the situation and is prepared to take some decisions “if needed,” per Duplaix, “considering also that we need to protect our brand and trademarks in the country.” This requires a “presence in the country,” where Kering is currently still paying rent for its stores and paying employees, and so, Kering will measure the “best balance” even if they do not expect to be able to operate in the country again in the “short term or mind term.”

This comes as a number of companies, including Nike, have moved to sell-off their operations in Russia. LVMH revealed this summer that it would sell its local Sephora subsidiary to the local general manager of the chain, but has made no mention of how it is dealing with its bigger brands, i.e., Louis Vuitton, Dior, etc.

Speaking of LVMH, one of its brands is the newest name on our running list of web3/metaverse related trademark filings. On the heels of announcing an impending collab with RTFKT this month, luggage-maker Rimowa filed a trio of U.S. applications for registration including one for a 3D design. (Enterprise subscribers can find the metaverse filing list here.)

A Rimowa trademark filing

In this week’s litigation updates: Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox and Too Faced are being sued by a group of consumers who accuse the companies of collecting and using facial data through their virtual try-on tools. (You can find that complaint here.)

The Cartier v. Tiffany trade secret case is still underway in New York state court. LVMH-owned Tiffany submitted a letter to the court this week, requesting a conference and briefing schedule in light of Cartier’s “wholesale refusal to provide relevant documents and information to Tiffany in discovery.” Per Tiffany, “The crux of the discovery dispute is that Cartier is refusing outright to disclose nearly all of its own critical documents and information no matter how central to its claims against Tiffany.”

A Few Quick Hits …

  A battle may be in the making over plans for Tod’s founder Diego Della Valle to acquire outstanding shares in the company, with “investor Tabor Asset Management sending a second letter to complain the price set by the founding family of the Italian luxury shoemaker in its take-private bid is unfair,” per Reuters.

–  Kering confirmed that “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to [Kanye West],” seemingly bringing an end to the parties’ collaboration for a Gap collection.

–  Zara is launching an in-house secondhand apparel initiative, planning to offer customers in the UK options to sell, repair, or donate pre-owned Zara apparel.

–  Ralph Lauren is the latest brand to come under fire for allegedly hijacking indigenous Mexican designs. After a call-out campaign on Instagram, the brand apologized and stated, “we are open to dialogue about how we can do better.”

In recent deal-making newsMeritz Securities Co., Ltd. has committed $50 million in a private placement ahead of Lanvin Group’s NYSE listing (via SPAC) slated for later this year. Meritz Securities is also “considering an additional investment of up to $15 million by way of a PIPE subscription, both at the same per share valuation as applicable to the de-SPAC transaction,” according to Lanvin.

Also … Bucherer is expanding in the U.S., with the watch and jewelry distributor acquiring Leeds & Son, a Palm Desert, California-based watch and jewelry retailer. It brings Bucherer’s total number of its stores in the U.S. to 34.