Off-White™ is certainly no stranger to legal disputes, having navigated trademark infringement lawsuits, copyright issues and more, and its latest battle is trademarking its recognizable phrase "For Walking" used by Virgil Abloh across multiple designs.
The phrase has been used in a handful of Off-White™ collections, gracing sneakers, heels, and cowboy boots, and the label has been trying to obtain a trademark for a while without any luck. Arguing that, “the quotation marks are iconic and distinctive to [Off-White] and create a unique commercial impression,” the label has received pushback from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with the examining attorney explaining that “the applied-for mark merely describes a feature and characteristic of the applicant’s goods,” according to The Fashion Law.
“Adding punctuation marks to a descriptive term will not ordinarily change the term into a non-descriptive one,” the attorney continued, explaining that the phrase is just a feature of the goods – not the goods itself.
The application to trademark the phrase has once again been refused (third time's the charm, it seems) on the Principal Register, but Off-White™ can still respond to the decision by providing evidence and additional arguments in support of registration. According to TFL, it seems as if the likelihood of the trademark appearing on the Principal Register is small, but that it still has a chance to end up on the Supplemental Register.
It remains to be seen whether Off-White™ will continue its fight to obtain the trademark, or if it will admit defeat. Recently, a majority stake in the label was acquired by luxury conglomerate LVMH, meaning that there may be bigger fish to fry than a legal dispute.