Turns out, Chanel and “parody” t-shirt brand What About Yves’ founder Jeanine Heller quietly settled their lawsuit late last year after a rather interesting several months between the two. According to court documents, the Southern District of New York court issued a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal in response to a motion by Chanel to have the trademark lawsuit dismissed.
You may recall that the Paris-based design house filed suit against Heller in October 2014, alleging that she was “displaying, offering for sale, and selling on her website, and selling to third-party retailers, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt bearing Chanel’s CC monogram mark with an image of an animated ghost commonly associated with the motion picture Ghostbusters.”
Chanel’s counsel continued on to state not only that consumers are likely confused by such unauthorized use of its trademark but also that Heller is not transforming the world famous Chanel mark in any way, commenting, or “transforming the mark” (language that refers to the standard for parody and fair use defenses). Instead, Chanel’s counsel asserted that Heller is using the “clearly recognizable CC monogram mark [on] her own clothing precisely because of the iconic status of the mark, with knowledge of its association with Chanel, in order to call to mind Chanel.”
Days after Chanel filed suit, Heller responded, claiming that Chanel had withdrawn the lawsuit due to misfiling, which, as it turns out, was not true. However, as of December, we can say the lawsuit is, in fact, no more. While the terms of the parties’ settlement are confidential, we can assume with quite a bit of certainty that in exchange for Chanel ceasing its legal action against Heller, she agreed to immediately and permanently cease sales of the “Chanel” Ghostbusters t-shirt and pay up an unspecified sum of money to Chanel for infringing its trademark.
Heller, who has also been embroiled in legal with former pal, Orange is the New Black star Taryn Manning, was sentenced to 45 days in jail this past January for 45 days in jail for continuing to contact the actress despite a restraining order. Her brand, What About Yves, has been at the center of controversy before. In fact, it was this brand’s “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves” tee that lead Saint Laurent to sever ties with Colette, the famed Parisian boutique, after the store began stocking the t-shirt parodying creative director Hedi Slimane’s decision to drop “Yves” from the name of the brand’s ready-to-wear collection.
Stay tuned, as there may be more to come — namely, a potential lawsuit from Diesel, as What About Yves is currently offering for pre-sale an exact copy of creative director Nicola Formichetti’s The Dieselreboobs t-shirt. On the heels of joining the Italian design house in 2013, Formichetti released an array of tees as part of his Reboot collection. Of the Reboobs tee (pictured below), Formichetti said: “I noticed on Dieselreboot.tumblr.com that people were joking and referring to “Dieselreboot” as “Dieselreboobs”. I was interested in the play on words and found the community’s idea catchy. I wanted to acknowledge the fan base and make a joke that Dieselreboot fans would enjoy.”
Diesel’s Dieselreboobs t-shirt (left) and What About Yves’ Two Boobs t-shirt (right)