Legally Yours. Forever 21 and Trovata Settle.

October 13, 2009 • Fashion

Forever 21 in NYC After two years of litigation and one mistrial, Trovata has settled with Forever 21 on the eve of what would have been the second trial in the federal lawsuit where Trovata alleged that Forever 21 was guilty of trade dress infringement. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed. 

In the U.S., copyright laws do not protect a silhouette, and only protect original artwork, graphics and prints. Because of that, design houses like Trovata have to sue under trade dress infringement, which in this particular case would have meant that Forever 21 had knowingly created clothing that made customers think of Trovata designs. 

During the first trial, which ended in a deadlock in May 2009, Forever 21 agreed that there were similarities between their designs and those of Trovata, but denied any illegal practices. Forever 21 had previously been sued 50 times in the past four years for similar reasons, the Trovata case was the first time they had gone to court. 

Trade dress and copyright lawyer William Levin said that "a ruling against Forever 21 could have [had] a dampening effect on the willingness of people to make on-trend garments that resemble items from other apparel makers."

-Nina Krek

Story & photo source: WWD

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