Chanel isn’t amused by a Michigan fashion retailer going by the name Shanel Fashion.
The storied fashion house told a Michigan federal court on Wednesday to put a stop to a retailer doing business in a Detroit suburb under the name A&S Shanel Fashion, which it says counts as an “unauthorized commercialization” of the numerous trademarks protecting the Chanel brand name.
Beyond the clear connection between the name Chanel and the brand, Chanel noted that it has eight trademarks protecting the usage of its name dating back to 1971 and that Shanel, whose owner Ahmed Ibrahim registered the business in 2015 under the name A&S Chanel Fashion, was no doubt aware of the famed brand.
“At the time defendants began using the infringing names in connection with their retail clothing business, the Chanel trademark had been federally registered, had been held to be famous by U.S. courts and administrative tribunals, and was distinctive as a matter of law,” Chanel wrote in its complaint. “Under the law, defendants are presumed to have been on notice of Chanel’s pre-existing rights to the Chanel mark for related to services prior to their adoption of the infringing names.”
In an effort to avoid litigation, Chanel said it sent Shanel in June a cease-and-desist letter that went ignored. Shanel responded to subsequent follow-up letters, and seemed to be interested in settling out-of-court, but Chanel said communication ended in August and had “no option but to file a lawsuit.”
“Defendants’ unauthorized use of the infringing names for their retail clothing business allows defendants to capitalize on the fame, recognition and goodwill of Chanel’s Chanel mark and to create initial interest confusion by creating a false impression that Chanel is the source of or somehow sponsors defendants’ goods,” Chanel added.
With that, Chanel asked the court to permanently enjoin Shanel from using its name or any other “confusingly similar variation” in any sort of commerce or marketing, and order the cancellation of any current business registrations usings the names. Chanel is also asking to receive any profits Shanel has realized from its business, along with unspecified damages.
A representative of Shanel could not be reached for comment.
Chanel has long been a fierce protector of its intellectual property and has had success in stamping out some more creative attempts to capitalize on demand for its products.
The General Court of the European Union in July sided with the luxury brand in its fight against a company based in Rome registering a symbol of two interlocking “S” shapes, which gave the look of an oddly rendered version of Chanel’s well-known double “C” logo.
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