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Gucci Returns Legal Fire To Forever 21 Over Stripes

Forever 21 is in hot water with Gucci over their trademark stripes. This time Gucci is taking them to court.

Over the past two months, Italian luxury brand Gucci and fashion retailer Forever 21 have been in a battle over the stripes. At first, Gucci sued Forever 21 for using their signature blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripes on their clothing and accessories.

Then, Forever 21 sued Gucci for the right to use Gucci’s well-known stripes and asked the court to remove Gucci’s trademark over them.

Now, Gucci is coming right back around and suing Forever 21 for trademark infringement.

According to CBS News, Gucci is suing the fashion retailer for attempting to get rid of their trademark over the stripes.

“Gucci is really having a moment and driving a lot of sales with these stripes,” said Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University during the interview with CBS.

“How can you actually trademark stripes?” CBS asked.

“When consumers recognize a certain striped pattern, whether it’s Gucci’s green, red, green, or Adidas‘ three-stripe design, then we give those companies recognition that those marks belong to those companies,” said Scafidi.

Sometimes imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery, especially when millions of dollars are at stake. This past June, Forever 21 pre-emptively sued Gucci to protect itself.

“Isn’t it good for Gucci if there are more people wearing a jacket that I might think is a Gucci jacket?” Jacobson asked.

”Oh no. Gucci’s brand value gets diluted,” Scafidi said. “Items like this hurt the bottom line because there’s market substitution, people trade down or fail to buy the original.”

Scafidi mentions that Gucci has even laid out a strong case.

“This is Gucci’s counterclaim in two pictures. Forever 21 is focused on the stripes and claimed that they used blue-red-blue stripes randomly. Gucci would like the court to look at this and say, ‘Oh no. That wasn’t random. You’re copying the entire Gucci product and attempting to convince the consumer to think about Gucci when it’s really just Forever 21,'” Scafidi explained.

“It looks like the exact same jacket,” Jacobson said.

“It really does very much look like a line-for-line, stitch-for-stitch copy,” Scafidi said.

Women’s Wear Daily style director Alex Badia said, “It is very interesting what fast retailers are doing because they bring in those trends to the masses.”

“Everybody does it one way or another. Everybody gets inspired by other people. At times a little bit of copying is good. But there is a way of doing it in which you don’t cross the line,” Badia said.

In a statement to CBS News, Forever 21 called Gucci’s claim false and said, “clothes with this same, common stripe design have been sold for many years, by many different brands and remain widely available today.”

“Forever 21 would love to cancel the Gucci trademarks in those stripes and free itself to copy those Gucci stripes over and over again. But Forever 21 may also seek to simply establish itself as a tough customer to sue,” Scafidi said.

In a statement to CBS News, Gucci said with this lawsuit it has taken the step to, “finally put an end” to Forever 21’s “blatant exploitation” of its famous trademarks.

However, Gucci is not the first to sue Forever 21. Adidas and Puma have also brought similar suits against the company earlier this year.

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