INFORM Consumer Act Designed to Curb Counterfeits

In March 2021, the Senate reintroduced a revised version of a bill calling for online retailers to publish specific, verified information concerning high-volume third-party sellers of consumer products for their customers. The Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) for Consumers Act is directed toward putting an end to the online sale of stolen, counterfeit and unsafe consumer products.

In particular, online marketplaces that include high-volume third-party sellers would be required to authenticate vendors’ identities through essential identification and contact information in the hopes of preventing not only anonymous online sales of counterfeit goods, but also preventing organized retail crime rings from stealing from stores and reselling items online.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Blockchain and NFTs Are Smart, but Can They Revolutionise the Fashion Industry?

Following the worldwide disruption in retail due to COVID-19, sales of luxury goods are expected to grow as much as 25% in 2022. Much of this growth has been driven by e-commerce, with online sales totalling 23% of all luxury sales in 2020. Meanwhile, consumer sustainability demands have driven growth in luxury resale or rental markets, now worth an estimated $36 billion, while brands have expanded their reach into the brave new digital territory of the metaverse – the overlapping digital spaces in which we increasingly work, play, and consume.

Yet luxury’s digital embrace has been hampered by a concomitant rise in counterfeit goods in the physical and digital worlds.  Is blockchain the solution?

To read the full text of this article co-authored by Duane Morris attorneys Cindy Yang and Kelly Bonner, please visit the Multilaw website.

News For Retailers: New California Law Requires Gender-Neutral Displays for Children’s Items

By Anjuli M. Cargain

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1084, requiring retail department stores in California to maintain a gender-neutral section to display toys and certain childcare items beginning January 1, 2024. The new law applies to retail department stores with 500 or more employees within California that are physically located in California; it expressly excludes out-of-state stores.   Continue reading “News For Retailers: New California Law Requires Gender-Neutral Displays for Children’s Items”

Common U.S. Visa Categories for the Fashion and Design Industries

The fashion and design industries employ individuals in various fields of specialization, both in “back office” design and production and “front office” presentation and merchandising, marketing/advertising and sales. To read the full text of this overview of common nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories allowing employers in these industries to hire and retain foreign talent, written by Duane Morris attorney Susanne Heubel, please visit the Duane Morris Immigration Law Blog.

New “.cfd” Domain Extension Tailored to Capture the Virtual Runway

By Michelle Hon Donovan and Anjuli M. Cargain

ShortDot, a domain name registry company, has announced the launch of .cfd (#ClothingFashionDesign), a specialized generic top-level domain (gTLD) for clothing brands, fashion designers, retailers, influencers, bloggers, consumers and lifestyle ecommerce stores. TLDs were developed in the 1980s and have unique purposes (e.g., .com, commercial; .org, nonprofit organizations; .net, network and internet-related organizations; .edu, educational; .gov, government entities). ShortDot’s webpage for registering the new domain states:

By providing a memorable, unique, and relevant web address, .CFD offers clothing, fashion, cosmetics, and footwear brands and designers a unique opportunity to strengthen their web presence.

Trademark owners can register .cfd domain names during the “sunrise period,” which ends April 12, 2021. Continue reading “New “.cfd” Domain Extension Tailored to Capture the Virtual Runway”

Fashion Companies Targeted by Animal Rights Groups

Michelle C. Pardo, partner and team lead for the Fashion/Retail/Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, is quoted in a Fashion Law article about animal rights groups focusing litigation on certain fashion companies.

From the publication:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is threatening Louis Vuitton with a lawsuit over allegedly “false claims” that the company’s chairman and CEO made in an interview in September. According to a letter addressed to Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Michael Burke on Monday, legal counsel for the animal rights group “demands” that Burke “immediately end [his] false representations that the animals used for Louis Vuitton products ‘are humanely farmed.’” Such comments amount to “fraud,” PETA Foundation deputy general counsel Jared Goodman asserts, citing a potential “consumer fraud action” against the luxury goods company as a result. […]

“In recent years, animal rights groups have focused their litigation efforts on companies that they perceive are popular with consumers and are delivering messages to consumers about positive animal welfare, environmental stewardship and the production of ethically-sourced products,” according to [Ms. Pardo]. “Animal rights groups view this type of labeling and marketing as a threat to their mission. If consumers feel good about the products that they buy, they are less likely to abandon meat, dairy and other products” – including exotic-skinned luxury handbags – “that are eschewed by many animal rights activists.”

To read the full article, visit the Fashion Law website.

How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 2)

Christiane Campbell, partner and team lead of Duane Morris’ Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, and Victoria Danta, Duane Morris attorney, authored the Fashion Mannuscript article, “How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 2).”

They write:

The first part of this article discussed corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how brands and businesses should be mindful in forming partnerships.

In building an influencer partnership, being reactive, as well as proactive, is key. Respond to potential partners that reach out to you while proactively researching potential partners with whom you would like to form a relationship. Have concrete ideas about what you would want to gain from such a relationship before entering it.

If this sounds a bit like dating (or online dating), that is not surprising. A brand-influencer partnership is, quite literally, a relationship that requires investment. In considering how best to invest, also consider which influencers on which platforms are most likely to be able to reach your consumers and form authentic, credible connections with them.

Read the full article.

How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 1)

Christiane Campbell, partner and team lead of Duane Morris’ Fashion, Retail and Consumer Branded Products Industry Group, and Victoria Danta, Duane Morris attorney, authored the Fashion Mannuscript article, “How to Build Relationships with Influencers (Part 1).”

They write:

What do The Marlboro Man and The Most Interesting Man in the World have in common? They are fictional characters, created in the board room, to shape consumer brand preferences. What do these two fictional characters have in common with the Kardashian sisters? Arguably, they are all “influencers.”

In advertising, an influencer is any individual, celebrity, character or persona perceived by consumers as having specialized knowledge, authority or insight into a particular subject, making them ideal launch pads for brands or new products. While influencers of the past were created by marketing execs, most modern-day influencers are celebrities, bloggers and other content creators with whom consumers feel an authentic connection.

Read the full article.

Protecting Your Brand and Customers During a Pandemic, Part 2

This post was co-authored by Duane Morris partner Alain Villeneuve and patent agent Nicole Candelori, and it is the second installment of a multipart series. 

In Tuesday’s post, we helped you diagnose and address the misuse of your brand as part of a website’s URL address. We hope this was useful. Recently, because of some desperation to sell low-quality goods, there has also been a dramatic increase in the misuse of leading brand names to sell infringing and/or counterfeit goods. The brand names are often used as part of a longer semi-descriptive name of a product on an online retailer site. We have also observed these brand violations on fully structured websites and in social media ads that draw to these pages. As part of these websites, your brand could be used somewhat descriptively in the title, in part of the product description text, in strangely frequent occurrences in the reviews, or simply in a comparison. Use of your mark, sprinkled on webpages, helps internet search engines find this abuser’s page, and these uses are most often illegal. Continue reading “Protecting Your Brand and Customers During a Pandemic, Part 2”

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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