Earlier this summer, Gucci had filed multiple cease-and-desist letters to Forever 21 following apparent copyright infringement on a number of the fast fashion retailer’s items, utilizing a knock-off of the Italian luxury brand's trademark “blue-red-blue” and “green-red-green” stripe webbing.
As of today, Gucci has filed a lawsuit against Forever 21, which was made in the United States District Court, Central District of California, at 6 a.m. local time, according to The Business of Fashion.
The contents of the filing include a motion to dismiss Forever 21’s earlier complaint against a threat of trademark litigation from Gucci and counterclaims of its own for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.
Several items from Forever 21's collection incorporated the distinctive stripe webbing motif, which included a silver bomber jacket, floral bomber jacket, a butterfly jumper, a green tiger motif jumper and a striped choker.
While the items are no longer listed on Forever 21's website, Forever 21 has also filed its case in the US District Court in California, seeking protection against a threat of trademark litigation.
The fast fashion giant said Gucci “should not be allowed to claim that Gucci, alone, has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessory items… Any use of stripes or color bands on clothing sold by Forever 21 is ornamental, decorative and aesthetically functional.”
With Gucci’s striped webbing a key motif of the brand, signifying its quality and design, the luxury brand is clearly signaling that it will defend its image at all costs.
Gucci’s first use of “blue-red-blue” and “green-red-green” stripe webbing in the US was in 1963 on products including bridles, walking sticks and necktie cases. US trademark registrations for the striped webbing were issued in 1979 and 1988, respectively.
We reached out to Gucci for their take on the matter and here's their official statement:
“Gucci has today taken steps to finally put an end to U.S. mass retailer Forever 21’s blatant exploitation of Gucci’s famous and iconic blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripe webbing trademarks. In two filings today in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Gucci has asked the Court to dismiss the spurious claims that Forever 21 lodged on June 26, 2017, and has brought counterclaims against Forever 21 for willful trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.
Gucci’s renowned blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripe webbing trademarks have been iconic codes of the House of Gucci for more than fifty years, following their introduction in 1951 and 1963 respectively, with the first U.S. trademark registration of the webbing dating back to 1979.
Despite Forever 21’s attempt to use its lawsuit to intimidate Gucci into ceasing its trademark enforcement efforts, Gucci is as committed as ever to protecting its long established intellectual property rights, which are at the heart of the brand's identity, and to ending once and for all Forever 21's reprehensible exploitation of its distinctive trademarks and those of other brands who have suffered the same type of piracy.
Gucci considers the defense and enforcement of its celebrated trademarks of paramount importance in protecting its customers from those who wish to knowingly profit from deception and confusion.”
Stay tuned as this story develops.
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