A full-fledged war has erupted between Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx Inc. and Heather Thomson, the creator of Yummie Tummie that, when broken down, can be compared to a scene right out of high school. Well, actually, more like a typical episode of Real Housewives, but I guess there’s not much of a difference there. Things turned sour in November when according to a WWD article, Thomson received a package at her office with an anonymous note and tank tops similar to her own Yummie Tummie tops bearing a Spanx label which the note said were being sold on QVC.
“I immediately recognized it as my original Yummie Tummie tank. We contacted Spanx by letter [through legal counsel] on Jan. 18 to notify them that they were infringing on my patent ideas and we asked them to cease and desist,” said Thomson. “Spanx then asked for a [one-month] extension to be able to do their own due diligence…They responded on Feb. 14 saying they didn’t think there was any patent infringement and requested another extension.”
However, Blakely filed a complaint on March 5, arguing that Thomson’s claims to her trademark tank tops are invalid. In this “he said /she said,” or rather “she said/ she said” copycat case, things only got juicer when Thomson took to the web, posting an open letter directed at Blakely. It read: “Until now, I have had only the utmost respect for the growth of your Spanx business. Unfortunately rather than showing me the same respect, you and Spanx have deliberately and willfully infringed on my patented inventions.”
Spanx has not yet responded to the letter, but they have made a statement via email addressing the topic generally. It read: “Spanx was making shaping camisoles long before Yummie Tummie. We have no further comment. The papers filed in court provide our position at this time.”
Something tells me that we’ve not heard the last of this fashion showdown. I can only say that this is an extreme case of “bitch stole my look.” And here I was thinking that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Obviously Heather Thomson would not agree.
– Jamie Wilson
Sources: NY Post, WWD; Images: WWD
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