LOCATION: THE UNITED STATES
Watch out for the rottweiler. It bites
Let´s turn back time to 2013, to tell a story about this peculiar dog. The french high fashion house Givenchy, famous for putting eye-catching prints on their garments, had been producing their, now iconic, Antigona Rottweiler Tote since many seasons back. The hype made the rottweiler quite busy, decorating the arms of countless fashionistas around the world.
All seemed perfectly fine, until, all of a sudden, another dog appeared.
The online fashion retailer Nasty Gal launched the Nasty Gal Vicious Tote, with a striking resemblance with the high fashion house Givenchy´s Antigona Rottweiler Tote. The similarities were many, if one have eyes to see, except for the price tag. The Givenchy bag – around 975 dollars, the Nasty Gal bag – 58 dollars.
It seemed like Nasty Gal used the same picture as the more expensive one, although with other colors and produced in other garment. As one may wonder, how could this be legal? Well, in the US today there are limited ways for designers and fashion houses to protect their designs and innovations. The U.S Copyright Act only protects fashion design through a tiny exception and it, in my opinion, would also be considered as doubtful to say that the U.S Trademark Act would have applied in this case. It only protects elements that identify source & origin of apparel & accessories. I mean, for the fashion- interested, the rottweiler could serve as a connection to Givenchy. But to others, it might just be a dog.
Well, the legality of the Vicious bag was never tried in court. And in April the same year, Nasty Gal took the bag out of production, which left an awkward silence behind.
Guess they were afraid that the Givenchy giant parent company LVMH Group, the world leader in luxury brands, otherwise would bite them badly in court.