The fast-fashion retailer on Monday asked a California federal court to declare that it is not infringing on Gucci’s trademark blue and red as well as green and red stripe design, which the luxury fashion house has allegedly threatened litigation over.
Forever 21, which is no stranger to accusations of trademark infringement, characterized the stripe designs at issue as “among the most favorite, popular and widely used colors and design features on clothing,” and asked that it be protected from a lawsuit by Gucci.
Gucci has allegedly “warned” Forever 21 in writing that it is infringing on the stripe trademarks and has threatened to sue for injunctive and monetary relief.
Specifically, Forever 21 said it’s received three letters from Gucci’s attorneys, most recently in mid-February, demanding that the retailer “discontinue all sales of certain clothing and accessory items with blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripes.”
Products being singled out by Gucci as infringing include a stripe choker necklace, a satin bomber jacket with stripe details and a knit sweater with stripe details, all being sold online and in Forever 21 stores.
But Forever 21 argued to the court that not only are shoppers unlikely to confuse any of its merchandise with that of Gucci, but that it is simply “not infringing any Gucci trademark.”
Forever 21 went even further, and asked the court to cancel Gucci’s stripe trademarks at issue and said any related pending applications should not be registered with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.
“Many clothing and accessory items adorned with decorative stripes colored blue-red-blue or green-red-green are sold by countless third parties,” Forever 21 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.”
A representative of Gucci and its parent company Kering could not be reached immediately for comment.
Gucci holds at least 14 trademarks covering its popular stripe designs, which frequently appear on accessories, but are also incorporated into apparel. The first registration came in 1979 and the most recent in 2017.
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