A fashion war on stripes: Gucci vs Forever 21
You gotta fight for your right to stripe
Gucci's iconic green-red-green and blue-red-blue stripes have been a statement of the brand for over fifty years. Following their introduction in 1951, the Italian fashion house first trademarked the use of stripes in this order in 1979. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and it looks like Forever 21 has a bit of a crush on Gucci. Over the past year, the fast-fashion retailer has been including 'Gucci stripes' in their accessories and clothing. The imitation goes beyond stripes as well, with whole Gucci products being ripped off by Forever 21.
And so begun a fashion war of suing and countersuing, the latest move of which happened this week when Gucci filed two separate notions to the United States District Court, Central District of California, "ending once and for all Forever 21's reprehensible exploitation of its distinctive trademarks."
I have watched way too many episodes of Judge Judy to not get excited about a legal scandal such as this, and will of course take this opportunity to summarise the myriad of events accordingly. All rise, this courtroom is in session.
Gucci (our plaintiff) had previously sent Forever 21 three separate cease and desist letters (the most recent of which was sent in mid-February) asking the fast-fashion retailer to "discontinue all sales of certain clothing and accessory items with blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripes."
Forever 21 (our defendant) did not take this lightly, and filed a complaint about Gucci to the Californian federal court in June claiming that: "Many clothing and accessory items adorned with decorative stripes coloured blue-red-blue or green-red-green are sold by countless third parties." The statement continued: "Gucci should not be allowed to claim that Gucci, alone, has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessory items."
So we have a plaintiff and a defendant, now we just need a trial. This week Gucci filed a motion to dismiss Forever 21's claim. In a statement to Refinery 29 the Italian fashion house explained: "Gucci has today taken steps to finally put an end to U.S. mass retailer Forever 21's blatant exploitation of Gucci's famous and iconic blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripe webbing trademarks." The statement went on to include: "Despite Forever 21's attempt to use its lawsuit to intimidate Gucci into ceasing its trademark enforcement efforts, Gucci is as committed as ever to protecting its long established intellectual property rights, which are at the heart of the brand's identity."
Now it is just a waiting game to see how Forever 21 will respond. Gucci, we suggest you get Judge Judy's number on speed dial. Watch this space.
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