Gucci America goes into battle with Forever 21

Gucci-Forever-211Gucci America has filed a lawsuit against US fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 for allegedly copying its trademark “blue-red-blue” and “green-red-green” stripe webbing.

Included in the filing in a Californian district court is a motion to dismiss a Forever 21 complaint against a threat of trademark litigation from the Italian luxury brand, and counterclaims of trademark infringement and dilution as well as unfair competition.

“Gucci America brings these counterclaims because Forever 21 has challenged its most valuable and widely known marks,” says the document, “and further because Forever 21’s legal assault, like its business model, is built on undermining the very notion of trademark protection, which is of critical importance to Gucci America’s brand.”

The lawsuit follows cease-and-desist letters Gucci sent the retailer over of its use of the stripe webbing on several items. The pieces include silver and floral bomber jackets, a jumper featuring a butterfly, a jumper with a green tiger motif, and a choker – all lookalike designs with striped webbing. The items are not currently listed on the Forever 21 website.

Forever 21 filed its case in June, seeking protection against a threat of trademark litigation. Its complaint said Gucci should not be allowed to claim that it alone has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessories.

Responding to the latest action, Forever 21 says it brought its lawsuit because it believes its position has merit.

To prove trademark infringement, Gucci must demonstrate a high degree of possibility that a consumer seeing the Forever 21 items could be deceived into believing they may be Gucci products or part of a collaboration with Forever 21.

Forever 21 is already being pounded by lawsuits this year from other international brands.

German sportswear brand Puma, also owned by Gucci parent Kering, this year filed a lawsuit claiming Forever 21 had copied three shoe designs from its Fenty Puma by Rihanna collection.  Swimwear brand Mara Hoffman is also suing Forever 21 for infringing copyright of its leaf print, and another German sportswear company, Adidas, claims Forever 21 has used its three-stripe trademark on footwear and clothing.

Anna Sui, Anthropologie and Diane Von Furstenberg have all sued Forever 21 over trademark and copyright infringement in the past.

This story first appeared on sister site Inside Retail Asia.

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