Friday, May 11, 2007

The Fashion Cycle - on Speed.

Diane von Furstenberg's suit against Forever 21 was covered in the press and on Counterfeit Chic back in March. There were a few interesting admissions statements in the article about Forever 21 in the NY Times today.

As a litigator, I'm going to give everyone involved in any litigation the secret! the best piece of advice ever! Ready? Here: Shut Up!

In this case, we've got a statement from the defendant('s representative) to the effect that there are no designers employed by Forever 21, “just very savvy designer merchants.” That's not a case-killer, but it's certainly the kind of statement that's going to help the plaintiffs.

Similarly, "Ms. Boisset of Forever 21 said that the company works with many suppliers and does not always know where their ideas originate." First of all, copyright infringement is a strict liability offense. Second, to the extent that a plaintiff will be able to show that in a particular instance Forever 21 was aware of/in contact with/in control of a particular supplier, protestations of ignorance will hurt in front of a jury. (Of course, the odds are that this case won't get to a jury, but still.)

I'm sure Ms. Boissett didn't mean anything bad. But in two quotes - and more than likely in other things she said that weren't reported but were likely recorded by the reporter - she did some damage to Forever 21's case.

--Ben D. Manevitz

PS: As an ancillary matter, I noted an odd shift in tone as the article progressed. The article starts out as almost a puff piece... Hey, look at this cool, generation-bridging, up-and-coming new store! Happy music; major chords; blue skies and puffy white clouds. La-la-la! But by the end of the article you've got gray skies, minor chords, and the looming lawsuit.


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