Fashion Law in the News

Over the past few weeks, a number of publications have reached out to CanadaFashionLaw for our perspective on a number of issues in the fashion industry.  Here’s a summary of the articles, if you’re interested in them:

1. The Genteel examined New York’s new legislation that better protects child models.  Click here if you’re interested.

2. The World Intellectual Property Review explored the issues raised in the Canada Goose v. Sears case. Click here if you’re interested.

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New York Sets Minimum Standards for Models

Over the past few years, CanadaFashionLaw has been following a grass roots movement within the modeling industry to set standards. There has been some serious traction but none more so than the adoption of legislation!

New York State has now passed legislation, which comes into effect November 20, that requires models under 16 years old to be recognized as ‘child performers’.  This means that their employment will be better regulated. For example, the number of hours a child model can work is limited, also how late they can work will also be monitored. A trust fund must be created where 15% of the model’s gross earnings shall be paid. The employer must also provide for a nurse and on-site study spaces.

It is no surprise that this will have a trickle down effect as to which models will be used on the catwalk and in advertisements. Perhaps we will see less 14 year old models portraying women, which will contribute to a more healthy image for consumers.

Although there are financial penalties available for those employers not abiding by the legislation, the greatest harm will be the PR back lash for infractions, especially in light of the fashion industry’s increasing sensitivity to human rights issues brought on by the Bangladesh travesty.

Gucci Has a Big E-Win

Domain name disputes are pretty standard items in the brand protection strategies. Domain name disputes afford brand owners an expeditious and cheap way of securing ownership rights over infringing domain names. Case in point, Gucci’s significant win over 165 infringing domain names this week. Each of these infringing domain names was owned by 1 entity, that operated out of China. The domain names ranged from somewhat standard infringing domain names (guccidesigner-handbags.com, guccihandbags-group.com, etc.) to the more fanciful (freegucciyahoo.com, guccihomesale.com, newyahooguccihandbagshomes.com, etc.)

Domain name disputes are essentially tribunal hearings that have a very narrow scope and are preferable to court proceedings as (a) every domain name is subject to domain name dispute policy, regardless of where the domain name was registered in the world, (b) is limited to evidence and arguments that are submitted in writing, (c) go the heart of the matter: ownership of the domain name, (d) enable the tribunal to transfer ownership to the righful owner, (e) can be decided in months, as opposed to drawn out litigation that can take years. Every brand owner should incorporate domain name disputes into their brand protection strategy.

Gucci was able to satisfy the requirements to be awarded ownership over these domain names by proving:

a) the 165 domain names in question were identical or confusingly similar to Gucci’s trade-marks;
b) the owner of the allegedly infringing domain names did not have legitimate rights or interests in the domain names; and
c) the domain names were registered and being used in bad faith.

In addition, Gucci was able to demonstrate that the domain names were largely being used to sell counterfeit products.

The domain name owner did not contest Gucci’s complaint or file submissions to assert its rights over the domain names.