WASHINGTON — The House passed a trademark-protection bill Tuesday that would make it easier for famous brand owners to get injunctive relief in trademark-infringement cases.
The legislation stems from a 2003 Supreme Court case over the Victoria’s Secret trademark in which the justices ruled against Victoria’s Secret’s claim that a small Kentucky lingerie and adult “novelty” shop called Victor’s Secret had infringed on the national lingerie chain’s trademark.
The Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), seeks to clarify an existing federal law protecting famous trademarks from brand “dilution” that could tarnish a mark or blur the association between it and a product, service or organization.
Most notably, the bill allows the owners of famous trademarks to seek an injunction to block the use of similar trademarks that threaten to diminish their unique brands without having to show “actual economic injury” or “actual or likely confusion” to prove their case.
The measure exempts from liability any commentary, comparative advertising, parodies, criticism and the noncommercial use of trademarks.
“Trade law empowers consumers by giving them information that is often critical to their purchasing decisions,” Smith said during House floor debate Tuesday.
“Diluting needs to be stopped at the outset because actual damage can only be proven over time, after which the goodwill of a mark cannot be restored,” Smith said.
In the Victoria’s Secret case, the High Court sent the matter back to the lower federal court with some guidance: Federal law requires evidence of “dilution” to a trademark name beyond the “mere fact that consumers mentally associate the junior users’ mark with a famous mark,” as Victoria’s Secret had claimed. However, the Supreme Court failed to resolve the underlying issue of what constitutes dilution, trademark attorneys claimed.
The justices, in a unanimous opinion, gave few details as to what level of proof is needed to show a violation of the 1995 Federal Trademark Dilution Act. That law added new protections for famous trademarks so companies could quickly stop a look-alike name or logo from trading on the reputation or tarnishing the image of an established company.Meanwhile, federal courts have offered varying interpretations of how the law’s “dilution” standard can be proved. Supporters of the new legislation contend it clarifies the dilution standard and establishes a test of likelihood as opposed to actual harm.
“This legislation does a lot of little things, but the one big thing it does is [clarify that] you don’t have to prove actual dilution,” said Ethan Horwitz, a New York trademark attorney. “That is the big hurdle to win these cases now and [the bill] would make it easier to protect famous trademarks.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)