Are You Famous?
IP Lawsuits for Popular Brands
What is IP and why should I care?
Everyday we rely on a garden variety of intellectual property that is so vital to us to function. From picking up a cup of Starbucks coffee to drive a BMW to work in a COACH handbag, to ‘Devil wears Prada’ (the movie). These brands help us carry the day because we are familiar with their quality and we trust to include them in our daily function. You will also be interested in the wide array of topics and laws that are designed to protect one’s brain-child.
IP and Trademark Litigations
IP litigations abound and we cannot possibly compile a complete list to illustrate our point. However, you can check out the following cases to get a sense of the garden variety of IP lawsuits in our daily life.
Gucci America, Inc. v. Frontline Processing Corp., No. 09 Civ. 6925 (HB), 2010 WL 2541367 (S.D.N.Y. June 23, 2010), ruled that Gucci had sufficiently alleged facts to defeat a motion to dismiss in a suit brought against three defendant credit card merchant service providers for trademark infringement.
Louis Vuitton sued the Eisenhauer Road Flea Market, its owner, Bruce L. Gore, and its manager, Patricia D. Walker, for contributory trademark infringement, alleging that the defendants had failed to prevent vendors from selling fake Louis Vuitton goods at the flea market. See Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Eisenhauer Road Flea Market, Inc., No. SA-11-CA-124 (W.D. Tex.).
The defendants themselves also were banned from selling Louis Vuitton counterfeits and engaging in any conduct which would contribute, directly or indirectly, to counterfeiting of Louis Vuitton trademarks by flea market tenants.
Allen v. American Apparel ((S.D.NY. 2009) use of image of Woody Allen as rabbi in American Apparel billboard)
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. v. Beyoncé Knowles, Case no. 09-807 (S.D. Oh. 2009) (trademark suit by retailer selling “Fierce” men’s cologne over singer’s mark “Sasha Fierce” for women’s fragrance)
The IPs you must protect in addition to your brand
Unless you have the depth of Amazon or Google’s pocket book, it is not advisable to do business without protecting your intellectual property. IP is always in the news, either because of big deals, or big lawsuits. Your key concern should be on value preservation and protection to enable brand growth and value capture for the business. Another key factor is in negotiated transactions and settlements, often the most valuable and vulnerable is your company’s most valuable assets: your intellectual property. IP protection is essential to ensure your success. Neglect to pay attention to your IP result in risks such as theft, copycats, misappropriation, infringement, and eventually, dilution. For companies possess trade secrets, the number of hacking stories alone implies a new level of subtle, systematic, sophisticated organized theft of IP that can lead to loss of competitive advantage, reputation and market value.
Don’t forget also to consult with seasoned IP practitioners to discuss your IP risks and management strategies in a number of risk areas such as cyber-fraud, outsourcing/ off-shoring, cloud computing, and licensing.