Legally Yours. Trovata Takes On Forever 21…In Court!

April 13, 2009 • Fashion


Finally! Someone is finally taking on Forever 21 for blatant copying! According to WWD, it has taken two years of legal wrangling, but Trovata is finally dragging Forever 21 into court. The lawsuit alleges the cheap-chic retailer copied its designs (see the photo above where the Forever 21 tops are in the top row and the Trovata originals are in the bottom…exactly the same right?) 

The outcome of this trial could have major implications for both vendors
and retailers in this age of fast (and cheap) fashion. Barring a last-minute settlement, this would be the first time Forver 21 faces a jury that will determine whether it
illegally copies other companies’ designs. The result could be a
clarification of intellectual property rights at a time when 'facsimiles'
of runway looks often show up in stores like H&M before the designer’s original version has even hit stores.

federal court case involves seven garments Forever 21 sold in its
stores in 2007, said to look identicalo
garments designed by Trovata and publicized on the runway or in
magazines. One Forever 21 garment also had an inside label that was disturbingly similar to Trovata’s distinct label at the time.

attorneys argued the alleged copying of the designs constituted trade
dress infringement
. What is trade dress infringement? It's the legal term for the visual
appearance of a product that links it to a particular brand in
consumers’ minds.

Unlike other suits brought against Forever 21
in recent years by companies such as Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui,
BeBe Stores and Anthropologie, were all copyright vilolation suits (only original prints or
graphics on clothes can be copyrighted as they are considered artwork). Trovata’s suit focuses on Forever 21’s copying of its unique
button placements, decorative stitching, fabric patterns and other

Although U.S. copyright laws do not protect a garment’s
basic design, silhouette or form, legislation is pending in Congress (supported by the Council of Fashion Designers of America) to expand
copyright laws to the “appearance as a whole of an article” of
clothing. The Design Piracy Prohibition Act has stalled in committee.
Critics contend its provisions are too sweeping and would stifle
competition and commerce in the apparel industry.

Forever 21
concedes in court papers that there are similarities between the
Trovata and Forever 21 garments, but asserts it broke no laws. Come on! They are flat out copies!

The trial is scheduled to begin May 7 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California where Trovata, is seeking a multimillion-dollar award for actual and
punitive damages. We hope they get it.

Read more "Trovata, Forever 21 Case Set for Trial" here.

Source & Photo: WWD

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