Skip to main content

OFF-BRAND - How a high-fashion brand and a local ice cream shop have come to blows over intellectual property


How a high-fashion brand and an ice cream shop have come to blows over intellectual property

In the various industries that are out there, not too many are as different as fashion and ice cream. One is involved in providing happiness, comfort and everything nice in this world and that other provides a sharp reminder that maybe that extra scoop of ice cream was too much. But suffice to say, a rift between the two industries is not something that you would expect to find. 

But as hype culture and the obsessive fandom on the internet have grown, the industries have been growing closer and closer together. But sadly, not in the way you think, we are still a few years off wearable ice cream. Instead, there is now a good chance that your local ice creamery sells merchandise. Less impressive, for sure. But this has become a staple for restaurants with even just a modicum of goodwill attached to their name and why not? If customers are willing to pay an extra $50 so that people will mistake them as an 'off the clock' employee, then go for it. However, it is always important to keep in mind that merely the fact that a store does not typically deal in goods from a particular industry, this does not exempt that store from the standard business conventions of that industry. 

This lesson was learnt recently by Afters Ice Cream, which after launching a line of merchandise was reportedly sued by the high-fashion brand, Off-White. 

Afters Ice Cream advertised a number of different types of clothing that featured the phrase 'Off-Diet' and using images similar to very notable Off-White works. Off-White claims that the merchandise is 'confusingly similar' to Off-White's graphics and registered trademarks. It also stated that "retail fixtures, signage, [and] interior d├ęcor" is intended to "confuse consumers into believing that [its] products are Off-White products and/or that [it or its] business is affiliated with Off-White." 


While it is ironic that the Off-White, a company which has been at the other end of numerous copyright infringement claims, even to the extent of a case being called OffWhite Co v Off-White LLC, was so quick to launch their own proceeding, however, the law is pretty straightforward concerning unlicensed reproduction of copyrighted works. 

But it is not all doom and gloom, and there is hope for the plucky ice cream store yet as due to use of humour in the respective shirts, a reproduction of copyrighted works could be okay if it is for the purposes of parody or satire.  

This concept was demonstrated in a recent case in the Ninth Circuit, where the makers of a dog toy that resembled a bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey were found not to be infringing copyright as the dog toy was found to be humourous and expressive and not a sign of your dog falling off the wagon. 

As for the Off-White matter, we will have to wait and see if this matter progresses to court or if cooler heads prevail and the case is dropped. 


Popular posts from this blog

Some of the Most Influential Cases in US History

 Introduction The legal system is a fundamental aspect of any society, responsible for maintaining order and justice and protecting individual rights. Throughout history, many influential legal cases have shaped the legal system as we know it today. In this article, we will explore the most influential legal cases in history and their impact on the development of the legal system. Marbury v. Madison (1803) Marbury v. Madison is one of the most significant cases in American legal history. It established the principle of judicial review, which grants the Supreme Court the power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional. The case arose when William Marbury sued Secretary of State James Madison for failing to deliver his commission as a justice of the peace. In 1801, President John Adams appointed a number of justices of the peace and judges for the District of Columbia. Before he left office, Adams signed the commissions, and they were sealed by the Secretary of State, John Marshall, w

Misappropriation of likeness, it's in the game

Misappropriation of likeness, it's in the game With the recent announcement that EA will be venturing back into the world of college sports for one of their upcoming games. It is essential to look at the reasons for its (over a decade-long) hiatus from making college sports games. Several high-profile cases took down a very profitable area of sports gaming almost ten years ago, over a simple but crucial element to the games, the players.  Privacy and personality laws in the United States is an emerging area of law founded on the basis that is based in tort law. It deals with the ideas that a person has rights: 1. To be left alone; 2. To not have public disclosure of private facts; 3. To not be depicted in a false light; and 4. To not have your name and likeness misappropriated.  On these critical tenets, personality laws have become increasingly more prevalent as, due to advances in technologies, it is becoming easier for one's likeness to be copied and distributed.  Th

Surviving and Thriving: Ten Tips for In-House Lawyers in Times of Change and Uncertainty

Get accustomed to change. The economy can be unpredictable, and the good times never last. It's essential to be vigilant and prepare for tough times, whether self-inflicted or imposed by external forces. Embrace uncertainty as an opportunity and consider what steps you will take if things go sideways. Focus on the four keys to success in difficult times. These include staying sane, making yourself indispensable, making the business love you, and adding value. By answering these questions, you can determine what actions you need to take to ensure your success during challenging periods. Maintain a sense of humor. Humor is an essential tool that can help you keep a positive outlook during even the most challenging situations. It is important to strike a balance and know when humor is appropriate or not. When calibrated correctly, humor can boost morale and make you more approachable to colleagues and clients. Keep up with the industry. Staying informed and up-to-date on the latest in