Wildfox Fall 2016

Wildfox Couture this week sought to fight back on a lawsuit from H&M with a legal filing of its own alleging trademark infringement.

Wildfox, the Los Angeles cool-girl brand with its signature vintage aesthetic, this week filed a lawsuit against H&M alleging trademark infringement among other complaints.

The lawsuit, filed in the Central District of California, claims H&M used the Wildfox name on a  number of sweatshirts, T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts sold in stores and online. The company’s asking for statutory damages of at least $2 million in addition to attorney fees and all proceeds from the sale of products bearing the Wildfox name.

“H&M is the second-largest clothing retailer in the world. H&M has the means to hire creative talent. H&M has the means to develop new, unique and interesting designs of its own. But developing new, unique and interesting designs every season in the ever-changing world of fashion is not easy or cheap. H&M thus often resorts to a different business model: copying popular, trendy or innovative designers and brands,” Wildfox said in its complaint.

“We take pride in making good, quality stuff and when they come and knock stuff off [and] get it out there for $20, it’s wrong,” said Wildfox cofounder and chief executive Jimmy Sommers, who was reached by phone Friday. “I mean, it’s not life or death, but they do this. These big companies, fast fashion. So they should be shamed a little.”

Sommers said he became aware of the alleged infringing product when people reached out to him about what they thought was a collaboration between Wildfox and H&M after seeing product in the retailer’s stores.

Wildfox, through its attorney, sent a cease-and-desist letter but the requests were waved off.

H&M then went to court last month suing Wildfox with the hopes of having a judge award declaratory judgment to H&M. The move was made in a bid to pre-empt what is now a trademark infringement lawsuit against H&M by having a judge rule the retailer’s products did not infringe on Wildfox’s trademark. Attorneys for H&M specifically argued in court documents a basketball sweatshirt bearing the words “Toronto Wildfox” was ornamental and couldn’t be confused with the Los Angeles apparel company.

“It wasn’t very nice,” Sommers said of H&M’s lawsuit. “So anyway now they’re suing me. The last thing I want to do is deal with this, but I want to stand up. The little guy should stand up for what’s right so I had to countersue.”

Sommers admitted he himself has infringed on others’ trademarks in the past without realizing it, once with the Hells Angels and another time when one of his designers traced a Chanel bottle without his knowledge. Both times Wildfox stopped, he said. “I didn’t go and then sue them,” Sommers added. “Let’s respect what people work for. Now it’s costing money and all [H&M] had to do was [say] ‘OK, we’ll stop selling it.’”

H&M, through its New York press office, on Friday declined comment on the lawsuit and the allegation of trademark infringement and said it was looking into the matter.

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