Briefing: October 6, 2023

Generative AI and the FTC, X v. X, Another Shein Suit & More

The Federal Trade Commission hosted a roundtable discussion – entitled, “Creative Economy and Generative AI” – on Wednesday in order to “better understand the impact of generative artificial intelligence on creative fields.” Ahead of the discussion, FTC chair Lina Khan stated that the web-based roundtable comes as “we see growing use of automated systems, including those sometimes marketed as artificial intelligence,” and as the consumer protection agency “want[s] to make sure that we’re fully understanding how these new tools could be affecting people on the ground in positive ways, but also in harmful and potentially unlawful ways.”

Among the speakers on Wednesday was Sarah Ziff, who is the founder and executive director of the Model Alliance, a New York-based advocacy group focused on research and policy for models and others employed in the fashion industry. Here is a quick dive into some of the fashion industry-specific points she made …

– There are rising concerns about the use of generative AI among models, who have “very little insight into how their work or likeness is being used in general, let alone in the context of generative AI.”

– Increasingly companies are asking models to undergo scans that generate a 3D model of their body or face. In a recently-conducted poll, the Model Alliance found that “nearly 18% of models have already been asked to undergo a scan by a brand or management company.”

– As for those who have been scanned, Ziff said that they “described not being given information about how their scans would be used.”

For a deeper dive into the Fashion Industry’s Concerns Over Generative AI, you can find that right here.

Some Litigation Updates

– Kim v. Shein Distribution CorpShein is being sued for direct © infringement & vicarious and/or contributory infringement for allegedly replicating another party’s ©-protected fabric pattern.

– X Social Media LLC v. X Corp: You’ve probably heard about this one already, but X Corp is being sued in federal court in Florida by a legal-marketing company that claims that the company formerly known as Twitter is infringing its registered “X SocialMedia” TM.

– Chosen Figure v. Prabal Gurung: Prabal Gurung is the latest brand to land on the receiving end of a © infringement lawsuit for posting a photo of a celeb in its wares (Camila Cabello in this case) on social media w/o a license.

– August Image v. Vie De Mer Skincare: Vie De Mer is also being sued for © infringement for using one of photographer Kenneth Willardt’s photos of a model on its e-commerce site.

– Roma Costumes v. Fendi, et al: Fendi & Marc Jacobs have settled a TM case waged against them for using a “reimagined” version of Fendi’s “Roma” logo that Roma Costumes alleged was “confusingly similar” to its own Roma TM. (You can find more background on that case here.)

In some of the biggest deal-making news this week …

– Reliance Retail will acquire UK-based Superdry’s licenses and brand assets in three Asian countries for $48M.

– Yaysay has raised $10.3M in a Seed round to launch its “first-of-its-kind shopping app combines AI-driven personalization with gamification to transform the off-price shopping experience.”

– Invoke AI – which provides open-source generative artificial intelligence software built for artists and creative teams – has raised $3.75M in a Seed round.

– IYK – which produces NFC chips to connect smartphones with physical products – has raised $16.8M in a round led by a16z crypto

– London-based jewelry marketplace Finematter has raised £2.2M in a Seed round.

– Muir AI has raised $3.25M in a Seed round to accelerate development of AI technology to reduce emissions within corporations’ supply chains.

– Faire has received an undisclosed investment from Shopify in furtherance of a partnership that “brings together two world-class category leaders in retail & commerce to expand Shopify’s B2B offerings.

– Bricz has raised an undisclosed sum from UST in an effort to enable both companies to “help customers navigate supply chain transformation.