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.

Bundle Up – Litigation Can be Chilly

A potentially big Canadian fashion law dispute caught our attention last week and we couldn’t wait to tell you all about it. Canada Goose is taking on Sears Canada over Sears’ sale of allegedly infringing jackets. Below is a summary of Canada Goose’s claims against Sears:

  • Canada Goose is the designer, manufacturer and distributor of high quality clothing
  • Sears is a retailer of low to mid-quality clothing (ouch)
  • Canada Goose’s jackets have achieved notoriety in the Canadian marketplace
  • The foundation of Canada Goose’s claim lies in its trade-mark and trade dress portfolio.  (This is interesting as Canada Goose is claiming exclusivity over the shaping of its jackets, although they are not registered.  We are starting to see a trickle in of the fashion design piracy doctrine)
  • Components of the trade dress include the length of the jacket and the placement of the zipper and pockets
  • Canada Goose has been selling its jackets in Canada since 2005, with an impressive retail value of $225 million in sales
  • In September 2013, Sears began selling allegedly similar jackets shapes

Canada Goose is seeking the declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as delivery up of the allegedly infringing merchandise and an accounting of profits.

We don’t often see trade dress-based litigation in Canada between fashion houses, so be sure to stay tuned to CanadaFashionLaw.

Canada and Europe Cozy Up

Canada and the European Union have been working together to come up with a trade agreement that could present great opportunities for Canadian businesses.  In essence, trade agreements function to reduce barriers in the marketplace.

Although not finalized, Canada and Europe have come together to create Canada-EU: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”).  The specifics of the agreement are still being ironed out and the details are under wraps.  This means that there are a still a lot of unknowns.  However, it does seem promising.

If CETA does go through, a 2008 study predicts that there will be 80,000 new jobs created in Canada, which could contribute an additional $12 billion to the economy.  That sounds pretty attractive!  If ratified, CETA would allow for a significant drop in tariffs for Canadian goods and services entering the European market.

But let’s not count our low-tariff chickens before they hatch.  There’s a lot of heavy lifting required to bring an agreement like this into effect.  Some of the specific terms still need to be negotiated (not an easy feat), the agreement needs to be translated into 22(!) languages and then both governments need to formally adopt the agreement.  It/when the agreement is ratified, the agreement will not come into effect for some years to come.

As always, CanadaFashionLaw will keep you posted.