Forever 21 hits Gucci with trademark lawsuit over stripes

The brand filed the legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

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Forever 21 has hit Gucci with a trademark lawsuit over a stripe design. Lawyers for the Los Angeles-based fast fashion brand filed the legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, with documents stating that the label wants to gain protection over the use of a "parallel stripe design of alternating bands coloured blue-red-blue and green-red-green".

The lawsuit comes in response to Gucci representatives sending a cease and desist letter to Forever 21 bosses in December last year demanding that the company stop using any "blue-red-blue stripes".

According to court documents obtained by The Fashion Law, the Italian luxury label then sent another letter in January with the same request, and a third letter in February demanding that all items with blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripe combinations be discontinued, as the company maintains federal trademark protection for those specific stripe combinations.

However, in spite of Gucci's existing stripe protection, Forever 21 lawyers alleges that their items, including a satin bomber jacket, tiger embroidered stripe sweater and floral bomber jacket, do not "infringe on any Gucci trademark".

The retailer also argues that Gucci, which is helmed by designer Alessandro Michele, doesn't have a case for trademark infringement and is asking for a declaratory judgement action against the label on the matter, with the lawsuit also calling for any trademark registrations at issue to be cancelled and pending applications for related trademarks to be killed.

"Gucci should not be allowed to claim that Gucci, alone, has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessory items," Forever 21's lawsuit states.

While Gucci has not filed an official lawsuit against Forever 21, a representative told The Fashion Law that the American company was seeking to "distract" from its own "blatant infringements".

"Forever 21 is attempting to attack some of Gucci's most famous and iconic trademarks. This will not deter Gucci from pursuing its own claims against Forever 21 as part of its ongoing commitment to the vigorous protection of its valuable intellectual property rights and distinctive brand identity," they commented.

This isn't the first time Forever 21 has put up a fight over stripes, as in March the label sued Adidas over the use of its of three parallel stripes logos.

But Forever 21 has also been hit with lawsuits, and was recently sued by Puma for allegedly copying one of Rihanna's Fenty shoe designs, with that case still underway.

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