Virgil Abloh’s Off-White accused of trademark infringement
today Jul 11, 2019
Virgil Abloh’s super-hot fashion brand, Off-White, is being sued for federal trademark infringement, unfair competition and common law trademark dilution, among other claims, by OffWhite Productions LLC, a New York-based marketing and design agency.
The complaint, filed in New York federal court on Sunday, claims that the marketing company “has publicly done business as ‘OffWhite' since the late 1990s,” predating the foundation of Abloh’s similarly named brand in 2012. OffWhite Productions also operates a website and Twitter account featuring the name ‘offwhitedesign’.
According to the complaint, Abloh’s brand has “established and promoted multiple entities and products” which infringe OffWhite Productions’ federally registered trademark, resulting in “a likelihood of confusion, actual confusion and reverse confusion,” between the two companies.
OffWhite Productions further claims that due to the dominance of the fashion label, its own website “has been ‘delisted’ from the first-level page position in Google searches for the terms ‘OffWhite’ or ‘Off White,’” causing damage to its brand.
The marketing agency has apparently previously requested that Abloh’s brand “cease such infringing conduct” but was met with refusal, while Off-White’s counsel allegedly “downplayed the significance of this confusion, and advised that his client would not cease its infringement.”
Since then, the fashion label has filed for yet more allegedly infringing trademarks, with one for “an entirely new design incorporating the word ‘OFF’ in a graphic arrangement that is unmistakably similar to a logo used by [OffWhite Productions] but not registered” seemingly touching a particularly sensitive nerve at the marketing company, which claims that Off-White made the filing out of “spite”.
For these reasons, OffWhite Productions is suing for monetary damages and injunctive relief which would prevent Off-White from using logos, trademarks or names that may lead consumers to believe that the companies are associated in some way.
This is far from Off-White’s first brush with trademark law. The brand was sued for its use of a striped logo by Helly Hansen last year and is itself a proactive defender of its own trademarks, having previously pursued litigation against childrenswear brand Brooklyn Lighthouse and e-commerce marketplace Wish.com, for example.
Off-White’s counsel is yet to comment on the claims made by OffWhite Productions.
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