Briefing: September 16, 2022
News of Kanye West’s headline-making bid to walk away from his deal with Gap (his counsel sent a termination letter to Gap on Thursday) was swiftly met with a confirmation from Gap that the deal will not continue on. As of Thursday evening, Gap president and CEO Mark Breitbard had alerted employees in writing that, “While we share a vision of bringing high-quality, trend-forward, utilitarian design to all people through unique omni experiences with Yeezy Gap, how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned, and we are deciding to wind down the partnership.” (You can find more about the deal breakdown and what is coming next for Ye right here.) No contract battle to play out here, it seems.
In terms of lawsuit developments this week, Skechers and Brooks have settled the lawsuit that Skechers filed in July, in which it accused its fellow sneaker-maker of infringing – and diluting – its “famous ‘S’ logo” by using a “confusingly similar ‘5’ mark” on footwear. And in a separate footwear fight, Rothy’s revealed that an N.D. Cal. judge issued a consent judgment in its favor in connection with the patent infringement lawsuit that it filed against Birdies, Inc., permanently enjoining and restraining Birdies from selling its allegedly infringing knit Blackbird shoes. The consent judgment comes after Rothy’s beat Birdies’ motion for summary judgment in May.
As for NFT/metaverse-related developments, Hermès CEO Axel Dumas shed light on where the company stands in the immediate wake of its counsel filing 3 intent-to-use applications with the USPTO. Largely mirroring what we predicted here, Dumas essentially claims in the WSJ interview that the Birkin bag-maker is likely (and unsurprisingly) going to play it safe and opt for utility for now …
In other web3 trademark news, Moda Operandi’s application for MODAVERSE for use in classes 35 and 45 has been deemed abandoned in lieu of a response to the USPTO’s Feb. Office action. Interestingly enough, an examining attorney took issue with the luxury retailer’s mark on the basis of likelihood of confusion with an existing registration, which I dive into here, but wasn’t bothered by the -verse suffix for a mark that was presumably aimed at the metaverse. (More coming in this soon.) The retailer does appear to have an active International Application (1649054) listed by WIPO.
In this week’s deal-making news …
(1) Web3 NFT, media, and entertainment brand Doodles announced that it has raised $54 million in equity funding, backed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, along with Acrew Capital, FTX Ventures and 10T Holdings;
(2) Prada Group announced that it has taken a 43.65% stake in calfskin tannery Superior SpA, representing “another important step in the strategic direction towards vertical integration of the Prada Group’s supply chain,” CEO Patrizio Bertelli said; and
(3) Patagonia’s founders transferred their $3B stake in the company to two new entities in a deal that has since raised eyebrows from a tax perspective.