The past month was a busy one for fashion brands as two lawsuits made headlines (but thankfully had no effect on hemlines).
In the first suit, designer Rachel Roy is suing Jones Apparel Group ("Jones"), where she is trying to stop Jones from selling her brand for $14.6 million to Bluestar Alliance, allegedly in violation of several agreements between Roy and Jones, reports WWD. (subscription only)
In the next, Aeropostale is suing H&M for trademark infringement over the use of the phrase "Live Love Dream," says WWD. (subscription only)
Here's a breakdown of each case.
Rachel Roy v. Jones Apparel Group
Fashion designer Rachel Ray has initiated an action in New York Supreme Court alleging six causes of action arising from Jones' attempted unauthorized sale of her trademarks and business, and Jones' purging and dismantling of her brand. In particular she's alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contractual relations, and fraud in the inducement. According to the complaint, she's seeking declaratory relief that Jones is not "authorized to sell" her brand without her approval, rescission of the agreements between Jones and Roy, and an array of damages.
The parties "agreed that any action or proceeding arising out of or related to the agreement shall be brought in courts located in the State of New York, County of New York," but it's unclear whether their agreement stipulated to state court. Without seeing the agreement, it's hard to say, but the language as taken from the complaint doesn't seem to rule out federal court -- the District for the Southern District sits in the county of New York. We're guessing that Jones may move for removal to federal court, but it's too early to say.
Aeropostale v. H&M
Aeropostale is suing H&M in federal court for violations of law related to "willful counterfeiting" and trademark infringement under the Lanham Act. According to the complaint, H&M sold t-shirts and totes with the phrase "Live Love Dream," "87," and "Aero," all trademarked by Aeropostale. The complaint includes three counts of violating the Lanham Act, and three counts of violating New York law. Aeropostale is seeking an injunction against H&M, damages, disgorgement of profits and fees, among other things.
We are in the very early stages of litigation -- pre-answer in fact, so we don't know what defenses or counter-claims will be raised, if any. What we do know, is that more likely than not these cases will settle. We'll keep you posted as they progress.
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