May 27, 2009

News flash: Forever 21, copy on!

While the NYPD continues to do its part to support local designers by raiding Chinatown counterfeiters, higher-profile copycats keep sailing along: A mistrial was declared today in the potentially landmark Forever 21-Trovata trial after jurors claimed irreconcilable differences, reports WWD. The trial, which avoided earlier unsuccessful copyright arguments by claiming Forever 21 had copied "trade dress" -- signature nonfunctional details that mark a garment as part of Trovata's brand. The similarities are patently obvious, even to the untrained eye (photo: Forever 21's garments top, Trovata's below), but since design elements cannot be copyrighted, the legal arguments can become truly arcane. Evenly spaced 4-hole buttons, really? Regardless, the hoped-for ruling to clarify intellectual property law regarding fashion designs has still failed to materialize.

Photo via NY Mag
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