Archives: Fashion & accessories

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Upcoming European Chemical Restrictions in Apparel Raise Concerns

The European Commission intends to ban the use in apparel of hundreds of Cat. 1A and 1B carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction substances (“CMRs”) within the next year. To do so, the Commission expects to use the so-called “fast-track” procedure to ban CMRs under Regulation 1907/2006 (“REACH Regulation”), instead of the standard procedure for … Continue Reading

Legal Workshops at Central Saint Martins

Covington announced its support of the MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins (CSM) towards the end of last year.  Since then, we have provided a number of practical workshops to the students enrolled in the course.   Our aim is to equip aspiring designers with important legal and commercial knowledge as they near graduation. The … Continue Reading

German Court sends online sales bans to ECJ

On 25 April, the German Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt filed a request for a preliminary ruling with the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in a case that turns on the ability of branded goods manufacturers to protect the reputation of their brands by controlling online trade. Coty is suing one of its authorised distributors, … Continue Reading

French probe of Adidas’ online sales restrictions closed

On 18 November 2015, the French competition authority announced that it had closed its investigation into Adidas’ online sales terms, after the company changed the terms. The French competition authority carried out this investigation in cooperation with the German Federal Cartel Office (the Bundeskartellamt). Adidas operates a selective distribution system under which distributors were prohibited … Continue Reading

Covington to provide workshops to Central Saint Martin’s MA Fashion Students

Covington recently announced its support for the highly esteemed MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins (CSM) in London. CSM has an outstanding reputation for educating fashion students. Successful alumni of CSM include Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha and Roksanda Ilincic. MA Fashion is the only course that has a show on the official … Continue Reading

UK CMA launches Article 101 investigation into fashion markets

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in UK fashion markets.  Little information has been released, but the case was opened on 24 March 2015 into anticompetitive agreements and concerted practices under Chapter I of the UK Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on … Continue Reading

Top 10 global consumer trends in 2015

Top 10 global consumer trends in 2015 Euromonitor recently published its yearly report on the “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends in 2015”. The trends will certainly capture the eye of luxury brands, and we pick up on some points of particular interest. Consumers now see “consumption as a route to progress” according to Euromonitor International. … Continue Reading

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office restricts duration and scope of radius restrictions on branded goods manufacturers

On 3 March 2015, the FCO issued a decision against the operator of the factory outlet centre Wertheim Village, VR Franconia GmbH. The operator of the outlet centre included a non-compete radius clause in its lease agreements, prohibiting most of the 100 tenants (branded goods manufacturers) from opening shops in other factory outlet centres or … Continue Reading

Guess Wins Latest Trademark Infringement Dispute Against Gucci in the French Courts

The Court of Paris has ruled in favour of Guess in the latest lawsuit brought by Gucci for alleged infringement of some of its trademarks.  Gucci claimed that Guess was infringing its rights by selling wallets, belts, and other products whose designs copied or mimicked its own. On 30 January 2015, the Court of Paris … Continue Reading

French Competition Authority adopts broad view on online sales market

On 28 November 2014, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) dismissed an action against Vente-privee.com (“Vente-Privee”), a French “online sales” (or “online private sales”) site, opened following a complaint from competing e-commerce company, BrandAlley, regarding the alleged imposition of abusive exclusivity clauses in its contracts with its suppliers. Vente-privee.com offers products from multiple  brands to a … Continue Reading

ISPs ordered to block websites infringing trademarks

The English High Court ordered recently ordered several internet service providers (ISPs) to block access by their subscribers to certain websites that advertised and sold goods infringing certain registered trademarks. The claimants (owners of a large number of UK-registered trademarks for Cartier, Montblanc, IWC and other luxury brands) sought orders requiring the ISPs to block, … Continue Reading

Ralph Lauren succeeds in opposing “parody trademark” before EU Court

With Contributions From Ramon Luque The General Court (EU) recently delivered a judgment which could offer brand owners greater protection against adaptations and parodies of their brands.  The case is  The Polo/Lauren Company v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM). In late 2009, FreshSide Ltd filed a Community trade … Continue Reading

Mirror, mirror on your app…The cosmetics industry embraces digital

L’Oreal launched its Makeup Genius app earlier this year. It’s been lauded as one of the best attempts at enabling users to apply make-up virtually, through a smartphone or other device. This has prompted a number of market observers to ask whether the colour cosmetics industry is on the cusp of a digital revolution, and … Continue Reading

Asics’ German online distribution structure may land in a different place to Adidas

In early 2013, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) opened investigations into the German online distribution systems of sporting goods manufacturers Adidas and Asics.  Both companies operate selective distribution systems, and the Bundeskartellamt took the preliminary view that both companies were imposing on their distributors restrictions regarding online sales that went beyond what was justifiable to … Continue Reading

Is it time for a fashionable smartwatch?

The launch of the Apple Watch on 9 September has prompted a discussion of how wearable devices can bridge the gap between technology and fashion, and how this developing market might affect traditional luxury brands. Smartwatches represent a fast-growing market.  In 2013, the market volume of the global smartwatch industry was USD 700 million: experts … Continue Reading

Michael Kors, Costco settle “Bait and Switch” Mother’s Day ad dispute; raises question of best brand policing strategy

With Contributions From Matthew Verdin Michael Kors, LLC and Costco Wholesale Corp. recently settled a trademark infringement lawsuit that the famous fashion designer company filed against the warehouse giant over a nationwide “bait and switch” ad campaign for Mother’s Day.  The lawsuit raises the question of how brand owners can best police their trademarks for … Continue Reading

UK Competition Authority drops investigation into DB Apparel and retailers’ price-fixing allegations

On 13 June 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”), the Office of Fair Trading’s successor, closed its investigation into allegations of illegal pricing agreements between sports bra manufacturer DB Apparel and three UK department stores.  Having carefully reviewed the evidence in the case, including the representations of the parties concerned, the CMA decided … Continue Reading

Belgian court declares Louboutin trademark invalid in three European countries

Christian Louboutin SA’s registered trademark on red-soled shoes is one of the most litigated intellectual property rights in the fashion industry in recent years.  In a decision on the validity of the trademark in March, the Brussels District Court held against Louboutin and declared the trademark void in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Louboutin had … Continue Reading

Advocate General clarifies “individual character” requirement for unregistered community design rights

A recent opinion issued by Advocate General Melchior Wathelet could strengthen the IP rights of fashion designers in Europe.  In a long-running infringement case by Karen Millen Fashions against Dunnes, a major retail chain in Ireland, the Advocate General’s opinion issued to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) sides with designer Karen … Continue Reading

Blomqvist v. Rolex: EU Court of Justice says a foreign online sale is enough to stop counterfeits at the EU border; No need to show further evidence of ‘targeting’ EU consumers

A fake ‘Rolex’ sold from a website in China is delivered to Denmark  The case began in January 2010 when Danish resident Mr. Blomqvist purchased a ‘Rolex’ watch from a Chinese online shopping site.  The order and payment were made through an English version of the website.  The seller dispatched the watch from Hong Kong.  … Continue Reading

The protection of brands in Europe using a Community Registered Design – Trunki v Kiddee

“Copycat” branding — where a lesser known brand mimics the appearance or design of a more successful or well-known brand — is becoming more common. Copycat products will often undercut the better known brand on pricing, in order to attempt to access a piece of the market captured by that brand. Designers looking to use … Continue Reading

Two Polish distributors of luxury watches fined for unlawful price fixing

The Polish Competition Authority’s probe into the luxury watch sector led to a first round of fines this week – two distributors of branded watches were fined the equivalent of ca. EUR 275,000, for fixing with their downstream retailers minimum retail prices for the sale of watches. PHU Jubiler and Anyro&Co retail and wholesale watches … Continue Reading

London Fashion Week: Model Rights?

As models are flown in from across the globe for London Fashion Week, we take the opportunity to remind businesses of their responsibilities towards models under UK employment law. Last summer, we blogged on the movement gathering momentum both in the UK and further afield to ensure that models’ working conditions provide adequate protection. The … Continue Reading

In China, it’s use it or lose it or else, get to be well-known: lessons to draw from Burberry’s battle to defend its signature tartan

A brand iconic for its tartan-lined raincoats faces stormy weather in China (at least in a metaphoric sense).  Burberry — like other brands with a strong presence in the People’s Republic— confronts the challenge of protecting its trademark under Chinese law, and there are lessons to absorb from its experience.  Burberry is currently appealing a … Continue Reading
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