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Intellectual Property Patent Licensing and Transactions Patent Litigation

Non-Traditional Trademarks: The Elusiveness of Branding a Trend

A look at several unique trademark cases where the plaintiff fashion brand proactively sought to invalidate a competitor’s non-traditional trademarks, an action which reflects a push back on increasingly aggressive litigation tactics by fashion brands seeking to blur the lines between a non-protectable fashion trend and a protectable trademark.

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Earlier this year, fashion brand Steven Madden, Ltd. filed a declaratory judgment action against Jasmin Larian, LLC in a trademark dispute involving the latter’s Cult Gaia “Ark” bag, a structured handbag made of interlocking rigid strips arranged in a half-moon shape. The dispute arose after Larian’s counsel had sent a cease and desist correspondence to Madden requesting that it cease and desist from the marketing and sale of Madden’s virtually identical “BShipper” bag. In its papers, Madden seeks a declaration that the “Ark” design is generic and not protectable because it “slavishly copies the traditional Japanese bamboo picnic bag design … from the 1940s.”

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