Legally Yours. Forever 21 Wins Copyright Case Over Express.

September 8, 2010 • Fashion


For as many times Forever 21 has been sued by competitors (which FYI—is over 50 times), its interesting to see that that do occasionally win. The fast fashion retailer was sued by Express, another retailer known for spot-on trends. Express
sued the  chain last year, claiming that it duplicated four
of its copyrighted plaid patterns for men’s shorts.

But upon closer inspection of the case—the federal judge in California’s central district, Otis
D. Wright II
, said
Express was not able to prove that any of the four plaid designs displayed “sufficient original creativity to qualify for copyright

Testimony from Express designer Michael Tower on the design process proved to be a key in the judge's decision. Judge Wright
noted that each of the four plaids was based on a preexisting plaid
that Tower had a CAD designer duplicate exactly. He also said the Tower was
unable to identify any differences
between the plaids and
its source. It didn't help that Express does not keep records of any of its preexisting

As a result, Judge Wright pointed out that Express
failed to note the plaids were based on preexisting designs in its
copyright application
, and granted a summary judgment in Forever 21’s favor. As a final insult to injury, Wright also rejected a trade dress claim by Express. Ouch. Lets just hope this victory doesn't embolden Forever 21 to rip off anymore actual designers.

Article Source: WWD

Photo Source:

-Alia Rajput

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