Archive | September 2011

Forget the Corners of Canal Street!

By Jaiana Casanova 

Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

Who says that you can only find counterfeits on Canal Street? The internet is taking over the sale of counterfeit goods, and luxury brands are no strangers to this situation.

Just recently Chanel filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement and cyber piracy against 399 websites, joining names like Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton who in the last few months have filed suits against hundreds of online retailers of counterfeit goods.

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Fake Fakes


Reviewed by Kyu Hee Chu

Feign even the slightest interest in the goods and wares being hawked along Canal Street in Chinatown and one is likely to wind up in a conversation with the vendor hushed nearly to a whisper.  Many tourists and thrifty New Yorkers alike know the drill—the exchange bargained for is often not exactly legal.

While the quality and authenticity of Chinatown’s merchandise is oft-debated, a recent raid on a funeral supplies store shed light on a new facet of the grey-area marketplace:  what protection is afforded to merchandise that is clearly fake?  As in, flimsy cardboard and paper versions of luxury goods designed specifically for traditional Chinese funeral burnings as symbolic gifts to the deceased.  Fakes that are supposed to be fake.

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Shapewear Squabble Settles

By Alison Parker

Reviewed by Jennifer Williams

Maidenform's Flexees tank (left) and Yummie Tummie's strappy tank (right)

Ladies, let’s admit, we all love shapewear–it fools people into thinking we have a toned and taut tummy, and may actually be the greatest clothing invention ever. Times Three Clothier feels the same way; the company obtained a patent over its “Yummie Tummie Strappy Tank” in December 2009. The patent covers the design of a form-fitting tank top.

The slimming and smoothing undergarment has proved to be quite the profitable wardrobe innovation–since its debut, the Yummie Tummie shapewear line has enjoyed sales in the $8 million range. Its success has been so immense that another undergarment company, Maidenform, caught wind of the cash cows and decided to make their own version of the trickery tanks. Times Three then contacted Maidenform about its multimillion dollar “Fat Free Dressing by Flexees” line because it believed that these shapewear tanks infringed on their design patent. But Maidenform didn’t think so–and the back and forth battle began.

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Relearning Patent Law

By Kyu Hee Chu

Reviewed by Jennifer Williams

The law is constantly evolving. Sounds like something you would hear in a first-year law school class, but it’s true.  If you are a lawyer practicing patent law, you probably have been re-familiarized with that concept very recently – as a result of the America Invents Act.  Just last Friday (September 16, 2011), President Obama signed the patent reform bill into law, and now it’s time to learn the new rules.

Out of the many changes that the act calls for, some of the “major” changes that have been receiving much attention are:

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Don’t Mess With the Gap, Inc.!

By Maria Cheung

Reviewed by Jennifer Williams

We all know the Gap for its traditional and affordable preppy clothes. The brand has dressed its customers since 1969, providing them with a stable source of jeans, crisp button down shirts and stylish t-shirts, among other fashionable staples. I personally love their super-soft pajamas. The Gap’s longevity and devoted customers have allowed the brand to become a commonly recognized producer of unique yet classic clothing garments. Recently however, the Gap, which is owned by its parent company Gap. Inc. (“Gap”), felt that its beloved trademark was threatened by G.A.P. Adventures Inc. (“G.A.P.”), a travel agency.  As a result, Gap sued G.A.P.  for trademark infringement on its name, alleging consumer confusion as to the clothing brand’s relation to the travel agency.

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Marilyn’s New Makeover

By Maria Cheung

By Jennifer Williams

Almost 50 years after the death of fashion and film icon, Marilyn Monroe, her name and likeness will be used to market a range of new products, including apparel, handbags, fragrances and home goods. Marilyn’s name and image currently graces numerous cheesy souvenirs, which are sold in Times Square and other tourist destinations, worldwide. According to the New York Post, Jamie Salter of Authentic Brands Group partnered with media company NECA to acquire Marilyn’s estate. Salter wants to ultimately eliminate the Marilyn-themed trinkets and souvenirs sold in tourist destinations.

“We’re not really interested in the trinkets and trash,” Salter told The Post. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good business — calendars, posters and shot glasses — but that’s not what we want to do with Marilyn Monroe.”

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Defamation Dispute Likely to Dissipate

By Alison Parker

Reviewed by Jennifer Williams

Maria Menounos may be treading hot water by accusing her former stylist, Lindsay Albanese, of stealing designer duds from her–unless the apparel aficionado really did give herself the five-finger discount on a few fashions. Albanese filed a defamation lawsuit against the former Access Hollywood host in Los Angeles Superior Court over a few catty remarks made at a lavish gift suite party in Hollywood. The complaint alleges that at the party Menounos demanded to speak to Albanese and loudly claimed that “Dolce and Gabbana won’t lend to [her] anymore because they said [Albanese] never returns anything.” Menounos also allegedly told other people that the stylist was stealing from her as well and as a result Albanese has lost clients. It seems to me that Albanese’s defamation action against the hottie TV host is likely to fizzle out, and here’s why:

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