PARIS — Puma has obtained a preliminary injunction against Philipp Plein from a German court after the sporting goods giant accused the Swiss designer of using a cat logo similar to its own, Puma’s head of intellectual property, Neil Narriman, confirmed on Thursday.
The regional court of Düsseldorf’s injunction prevents Plein from selling clothes in Puma’s homeland, Germany, that bear a scratchy, leaping tiger that Puma claims resembles its pouncing cat logo.
But it’s early days. “Philipp Plein still has the chance to come up with all his arguments,” Narriman told WWD, noting that the preliminary injunction actually came through in September but has taken a while to serve since Plein’s company is based in Lugano, Switzerland.
“We first encountered this trademark when he tried to file for the trademark at various trademark offices all over the world, which we opposed…. At the end of 2017, we found out that he introduced a new sports line, Philipp Plein Sports, using this trademark on different items like shoes and apparel,” recounted Narriman, adding that “despite sending letters to try and find an amicable solution before we even knew that he was coming out with the sports line,” Plein and his lawyers never got back to them.
The designer now has the possibility to oppose the injunction formally, and after that the court will decide on the date for another hearing, said Narriman.
Narriman also confirmed he has instructed Puma’s lawyers to serve a similar injunction that they obtained in Holland on Wednesday.
“This will happen within the next days,” he said, adding that, if necessary, Puma will take legal measures in other countries. “In some countries, it’s already too late to file for preliminary injunctions because there are deadlines….If necessary we would also pursue the civil way in other countries, but of course we want to wait for his reaction to what has already happened,” said Narriman. “Hopefully, they are now prepared to get in touch with us and to have talks on how to resolve this matter.”
Plein’s reaction to the situation so far appears to have been less conciliatory.
The designer last Saturday posted a message on Instagram announcing he had received “a LOVE LETTER from PUMA trying to take legal action against us because they are trying to find similarities between their jumping KITTY KAT logo with a tail and our TIGER HEAD with claw stripes.
“Everybody loves you until you become competition!” he said. “It is sad and ridiculous that competitors are not always playing fair and trying everything in their power to interrupt the success from others…nobody can stop the growth of our new mega brand PLEINSPORT ! Instead of wasting your time and money you guys should PLAY FAIR 😐 ! Let the games begin…”
On Thursday he posted the tiger logo, accompanied with the message: “The rule of life is simple: Hunt or get hunted…BE A TIGER !”