Susan Scafidi was quoted in a CBS News article about the luxury brand Gucci’s recent lawsuit for trademark infringement against Forever 21.
International fashion house Gucci has been sending its iconic stripes down the runway for more than half a century in blue-red-blue and green-red-green.
Similar designs with similar stripes are being sold by Forever 21. Now Gucci is suing the fast-fashion retailer for trademark infringement.
“Gucci is really having a moment and driving a lot of sales with these stripes,” said Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University.
“How can you actually trademark stripes?” Jacobson asked.
“When consumers recognize a certain striped pattern, whether it’s Gucci’s green, red, green, or Adidas’ three-striped mark, then we give those companies recognition that those marks belong to those companies,” Scafidi said.
“Isn’t it good for Gucci if there are more people wearing a jacket that I might think is a Gucci jacket?” Jacobson asked.
“Oh no. Gucci’s brand value gets diluted,” Scafidi said. “Items like this hurt the bottom line because there’s market substitution, people trade down or fail to buy the original.”
Scafidi said Gucci has laid out a strong case.
“This is Gucci’s counterclaim in two pictures. Forever 21 is focused on the stripes and claimed that they used blue-red-blue stripes randomly. Gucci would like the court to look at this and say, ‘Oh no. That wasn’t random. You’re copying the entire Gucci product and attempting to convince the consumer to think about Gucci when it’s really just Forever 21,'” Scafidi explained.
“It really does very much look like a line-for-line, stitch-for-stitch copy,” Scafidi said.