Founder and academic director of the Fashion Law Institute, Professor Susan Scafidi, talked to the Wall Street Journal about accusations by a former Victoria’s Secret design director who says the lingerie mogul ripped off designs from her current label, Fleur du Mal.
Zuccarini, 44, says that on July 1, a customer used the live chat function on Fleur du Mal’s website to share a link to a Victoria’s Secret page offering products that closely resembled the Lily designs. After that, Fleur du Mal continued receiving similar chats, emails and direct messages on social media alerting them to look-alike designs, and before long, others started noticing the collection in the store windows of Victoria’s Secret and in its print and television campaigns. The added blow? Zuccarini worked for Victoria’s Secret as its design director from 2008 to 2011.
“Jennifer definitely has grounds to sue the panties off of them, if you will,” says Susan Scafidi, the founder and director at the Fordham Law School’s Fashion Law Institute. Until a couple years ago, Scafidi says, Zuccarini’s claim would have probably focused primarily on the lace pattern, but in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands that two-dimensional patterns were copyrightable. “In the case of the bra, we have a longline bra with triangles, flowers and blocks of semisolid color on the mesh sides—so overall, we have a two-dimensional copyrightable pattern,” she says. “The same is true on the panties.” Whether or not Zuccarini has registered her copyrights, she has a case. (Copyrights can take a number of months to be granted, she says, and cost $75.)