FASHION LAW: HERMÈS SUES BIRKIN BAG PLAGIARERS
Image courtesy of Billdiodato
The Hermès Birkin bag is acknowledged as one of the most expensive bags within the industry, which makes it a target for relentless imitators. The Hermès Birkin bag is a product made notorious due to its fine leather artisanship and exposure via press coverage, fashion editorials, and of course, HBO’s Sex and the City. The French fashion house is now suing Birkin bag imitators for trademark and trade dress infringement.
In 2012, Hermès dropped four diamond-studded beauties onto the shelves, each designed by Pierre Hardy, pricing around $1.9 million each. A tot version of the Hermès Birkin bag was created, which was priced around $8,000 intended for the average consumer. Many versions have been created for the Hermès Birkin line: from diamond-crusted editions to Birkins with feet.
In the case of Hermès International v. Emperia, Inc. et al., 14-CV-03522 (C.D. Cal. 2014), filed on May 7th against Emperia, Inc., Anne-Sophie, Inc., and Top’s Handbag, Inc., Hermès is suing said party for selling Birkin knockoffs to online retailers Charming Charlie and JustFab. Hermès is also charging for unfair competition and tarnishing of the luxury brand’s name. The defendants have sold the counterfeit Birkin bags for wholesale prices ranging from $15 to $20 taking advantage of Hermès’ reputation and injuring the brand’s stature. The counterfeits harm the Plaintiff’s good name and commercial integrity. With the alarming rates of substitutes being created, it is no surprise that counterfeiting manufacturers are taking advantage of Hermès’ famous trademark. The Hermès “Birkin” design is so widely known that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has determined it merits a registration of design.
Hermès is seeking statutory treble damages, costs, accounting of profits, as well as, damages. Just Fabulous, Inc. (JustFab.com) is the copycat under fire, for the business imitated the design of the Hermès Birkin bag and shipped over three thousand units of the knockoff to online retailer Emperia Handbags. Even with the forewarnings, cease and desist letters, the Defendants continued to barter knockoff designs. Here is a document of eight counterfeit Hermès Birkin designs.
Being such a highly coveted luxury brand along with such a recognizable trademark, this won’t be the last time we receive notice of infringing activity for Hermès.