Any troubles with lawsuit against Knockoffs?

posted 3 years ago in Dress
Post # 2
Member
958 posts
Busy bee

I wonder how they’re swinging that one.  There is no copyright law for fashion design, because you can’t copyright the construction of a garment (it’s a utilitarian item, and you can’t copyright utilitarian items – you can file a patent for a new and innovative design, but fashion doesn’t fall into the patentable category).  That’s why designers like Coach and Louis Vuitton plaster their products with their logo – because you CAN trademark a logo, and copying the logo on the fabric is illegal.  So as long as the knockoff sites aren’t claiming that they’re selling original products, and are being up-front about the fact that their merchandise is a replica, they aren’t violating the law.

Post # 3
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Polyphemus:  it’s because the websites are using the designers photos. 

Post # 4
Member
7410 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Goofball:  Exactly. It has nothing to do with the dresses as such just the images on the websites.

Also a court order from a USA court has no bearing in China. I would assume that the 1,100 sites that they are claiming to be knock off sites are all based in the USA. They can force paypal not to transact with them but I doubt that they will be able to freeze all their bank accounts since most would bank in China.

Post # 5
Member
1432 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I don’t actually know if this applies but there is protection (at least in canada) for industrial designs.

Post # 6
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

raspberrymojito:  pp was correct, in the US fashion design can’t be copyrighted. There are only so many ways you can design a skirt…textile prints can be protected, but since most wedding dresses are white, well you can’t copyright white.

Anybody who buys a $200 dress from China was never going to drop $2k on the real deal, and anybody who thinks they’re getting the real deal for 1/10th of the price shouldn’t be allowed to have a credit card. If anything the knockoff sites are hurting the “chain” bridal stores here in the US who pretty much knock off the top designs & have the dresses made in China anyways. The difference is the government gets a cut (income & sales tax).  This has nothing to do with designers, and everything to do with who’s hands are in the pot. 

Post # 7
Member
958 posts
Busy bee

Goofball:  Ahhh, that makes sense.  Yeah, they could get the websites taken down with a DMCA notice.  The dresses might not be copyrightable, but the photos of the dresses?  Different story.

raspberrymojito:  Industrial designs and fashion designs are different.  Both are “utilitarian,” but one differs in aesthetics, while in the other the difference is functionalFunctional differences in fashion are few and far between (and, when they come up, they can be patented – it’s possible to patent, for example, a new and innovative zipper design, and then sell your zippers to fashion designers who will use them in their own garments).

Post # 8
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2014

The merchandise can also be seized at Customs, but technically that’s always been a risk. 

Post # 9
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Polyphemus:  totally agree they shouldn’t be using the photos…but I doubt if using them in any way actually hurts the designers, if anything I think it might bring them more business. How many times on the Bee is someone looking for a dress they found on Pinterest or Google that had no link back…at least the photos being seen and those that want the “designer” dress will track it down.  I’m all for protecting intellectual property and what not, but I think the lawsuits are more of a marketing stunt than anything else. 

indy0725:  if the lawsuits are about the use of photos then how would the dresses be seized? The dresses themselves aren’t breaking any laws unless they have the designers name on the label…which I don’t think is an issue here. 

Post # 10
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Goofball:  That part was in the press release. 

“To immediately inform United States Customs and Homeland Security of the injunction to secure maximum help from these institutions to seize illegal websites and counterfeit merchandise.”

When a site uses the designer’s pictures (and not their own, even if it’s a similar gown) it implies they are making that dress, to the standards of the original designer. I guess that crosses into counterfeit territory.

I have seen the websites that use pictures from designers but I’m not all that familiar with some of the vendors spoken of here on the Bee, so I don’t know how they in particular operate.

Post # 11
Member
7410 posts
Busy Beekeeper

indy0725:  In fashion you only have to chnage one little thing and it makes it a different design. So they could not sieze the dresses because all the Chinese manufacturers know this and make a slight alteration from the original dress. Since the stitching will be different and the pattern will be different (as they wouldn’t have the designers pattern) the dress is not the designers.

And if they somehow got a court to agree to the siezures, how would the average customs agent know the difference between a knock off and a custom design? They wouldn’t so this is never going to happen Because there would be a hell of a lot of lawsuits against the customs agencies for unlawfully siezing a dress When they mistakenly held a custom design thinking it was a replica.

Post # 12
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2014

j_jaye:  I’m just saying Customs has been alerted.<br /><br />Customs seizes counterfeit purses, toothpaste and electronics (cigarettes, the lists goes on and on) all the time, adding dresses to the list isn’t so far-fetched. Whether it’s slightly different or not..if the company is operating under false pretences, for lack of a better description, their goods might be seized.

There are people who order dresses and they never get them, could be the company never intended to send it, could be the truck burst into flames, could be it got stopped by Customs…

Who is going to sue Customs? The people who are already being sought by law enforcement? The women who just want a gown and never got it, so they have to go to plan B?

Maybe it will be business as usual, maybe it won’t….

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