FASHION LAW: SHOE COPYRIGHT CLAIMS AGAINST MANSUR GAVRIEL
If the shoe fits, copy it? No, that can’t be right, but two emerging fashion labels Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Mansur Gavriel are in the midst of a copyright battle; they each claim their shoe designs are the original. Last week, emerging designer and owner of Lower East Side store and showroom, Nassir Zadeh publicly accused Mansur Gavriel of directly copying her mule sandal. Nassir Zadeh used social media outlets such as Instagram to boldly display the accusation citing particular similarities in the shoe design such as color (red), and material (suede).
Nassir Zadeh declined to comment as to whether she plans to take legal action against the designer, but did release the following statement: “Since I was notified of Mansur Gavriel design’s likeness to my shoes, I did research into Maryam Nassir Zadeh store records. I found proof of purchase receipts [from my store] from Rachel Mansur dating March, April and May 2015, of the exact styles and colors in question.”
Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel responded, “Recently it has come to our attention that fellow New York City brand Maryam Nassir Zadeh is claiming similarities between her designs and our newly launched Spring/Summer 2016 shoe collection. This deeply saddens us as any similarity is completely coincidental. Our line has been developed and designed over a period of 18 months, drawing inspiration from classic shoe silhouettes and the iconic colors and materials of our handbag collection. We respect Maryam Nassir Zadeh as a designer and retailer, and are customers of her store. However, we believe that neither she nor we can claim ownership of a mule or slide or block heel or color, for that matter. We are well aware of rampant imitation of young designers in the marketplace and have personally experienced this many times.”
According to experts, taking legal action in this particular case might be tough seeing as how in the US anything that is considered functional is not subject to copyright. However, there is a slight chance a patent law could apply similarly to the way athletic shoe brands are patented for presenting consumers a useful function (i.e. jump higher), but because of the minimalism of this particular shoe the odds do not seem in Nassir Zadeh’s favor.
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