I admire Karl Lagerfeld as much as the next person, but the fashion house he helms has no chill when it comes to lawsuits. Back in September they sued the heck out of a salon owner named Chanel for naming her business after herself (yes, really) and now they're taking legal action against yet another company. Chanel is suing Shop Jeen for iPhone cases that resemble that brand's iconic No. 5 perfume bottles. At least this lawsuit seems justified.
According to The Fashion Law, the world famous Paris design house has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the online retailer, citing "federal trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and common law trademark infringement, in connection with imitation Chanel iPhone cases." Once you consider that the $35 cases actually say "Chanel Paris" on them and include the brand's signature quilted purse strap, those claims make a lot of sense.
Of course, Chanel is claiming to have suffered “irreparable injury and substantial damages" due to the sale of these iPhone cases, which might be an overstatement. After all, Chanel is a major luxury brand and Shop Jeen is.... Shop Jeen. They are currently advertising a polka dot vibrator for $20 on their homepage. No one is confusing them with Chanel.
However. All brands big and small have a right to protect themselves from copyright infringement and Chanel's "mega" status does not exclude them from this right. In fact, their access to funds might explain why the label has been so trigger happy with the lawsuits of late. They have the means to protect their brand image.
According to The Fashion Law,
Chanel’s complaint places significant emphasis on two interesting concerns: Shop Jeen’s use of “the Chanel Marks in the same stylized fashion, for different quality goods” (which is damaging to Chanel’s reputation of high quality goods) and the Defendants’ “knowledge that they are without the authority to do so.” The latter is characterized as a knowing and willful ”defrauding of Chanel and the consuming public for the Defendants’ own benefit,” and is not only based upon Shop Jeen’s sale of the iPhone cases but also its advertisement of such accessories.
Yeah, that sounds waaay more legit than suing some poor woman for using her own name to promote her business (a suit Chanel won, by the way, because no one can touch the almighty Lagerfed — except for Choupette, of course).
Looks like Shop Jeen doesn't stand a chance.
Images: Getty Images(2)