Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law

Jonathan Hyman

Which Supreme Will Reign Supreme: "Legal Counterfeits" in China

April 24, 2019 Alexander D. Zeng and Jonathan Hyman

Supreme, the popular New York-based American streetwear brand, known by its iconic logo, was created by founder/CEO James Jebbia.  Despite its highly successful brand recognition, the company (which operates under the corporate entity Chapter 4 Corp.), has encountered difficulties in establishing its trademark rights overseas.  As Chapter 4 Corp. began to file applications to register its SUPREME trademark overseas, an unrelated company doing business as Supreme Italia, which was launched in 2015 by International Brand Firm (“IBF”), also began filing applications to register the SUPREME trademark in multiple countries.  IBF is a limited company in the UK which operates as a holding company that licenses the rights in the SUPREME trademark for use on garments and accessories sold in countries across the globe.


Burlesque Designs for the Eye: Makeup Designs in Dispute

February 15, 2019 Shuchen Gong and Jonathan Hyman

On December 13, 2018, Face Lace Ltd., founded by makeup artist Phyllis Cohen to provide ready-to-wear makeup designs, filed suit in the Central District of California against Bare Escentuals Inc. d/b/a Buxom Cosmetics. Face Lace’s complaint alleged copyright infringement and trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act.



New USPTO Specimen Pilot Program

March 14, 2018 Jonathan Hyman

On March 6, 2018 the USPTO announced that it has started a pilot program that makes it easy to report specimens that have been digitally created, altered or fabricated.  Third parties that believe that an application contains suspect specimens can now send an email to to report such issues.


Vintage or Protectable? Steve Madden Creates Waves for the Ark

March 12, 2018 Loni Morrow and Jonathan Hyman

Jasmin Larian, the owner of Cult Gaia, started selling the “Ark” bag in 2013.  Since then the Ark bag has been seen on celebrities including Jessica Alba and was even touted as 2017’s “IT” bag.  

Attorneys’ Fee Decision Should put Louis Vuitton in a Good Mood, but will it Gain a Sense of Humor?

January 29, 2018 Loni Morrow and Jonathan Hyman

In December, the Second Circuit ruled that My Other Bag (MOB) was not liable for infringing Louis Vuitton’s trademarks and copyrights because MOB’s bags were a parody of the luxury giant.

Anything Your Heart Designs: Swarovski Hit with Copyright Infringement of Galatea’s “Two In One Heart” Design

January 18, 2018 Chanell Khosrowabadi and Jonathan Hyman

On December 4, 2017 Galatea Jewelry (“Galatea” or “Plaintiff”) filed a copyright infringement suit in the District Court for the Central District of California against the well-known crystal jewelry producer and retailer Swarovski North America Limited and its related entities, Swarovski Retail Ventures Ltd., Swarovski Digital Business USA Inc., and Swarovski Crystallized LLC (collectively, “Swarovski”).

Is it Pretty? Will H&M Assert a “Classixx” Ornamental Defense to Claims of Trademark Infringement?

November 6, 2017 Jonathan Hyman and Chanell Khosrowabadi

On October 19, 2017 Hush Hush Sound Inc, Michael David, and Tyler Blake (collectively “Plaintiffs”) also known as the Electronic dance music duo “Classixx” filed suit in the District Court for the Central District of California against well-known fast fashion retailer H&M for trademark infringement.

General Mills Finds Out That Yellow Is Not “Magically Delicious”: Brands Fighting To Protect Their True Colors

September 13, 2017 Nicole R. Townes and Jonathan Hyman

Years after the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent battle over red soled shoes, trademark protection for color continues to be a hot topic.  On August 22, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) held that General Mills was not entitled to a trademark registration for its yellow Cheerios’ box shown below:

Catching Counterfeits: Customs Recordation and IP Enforcement

August 9, 2017 Lesley Kim and Jonathan Hyman

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), the primary federal agency responsible for securing America’s borders, is also charged with the protection of intellectual property rights and guarding against the infringement of U.S. copyrights and trademarks.

Puma Treads New Territory Hitting Forever 21 with Copyright Allegations after the Supreme Court’s Star Athletica Decision

April 4, 2017 Loni Morrow and Jonathan Hyman

On March 31, 2017, Forever 21 was sued by Puma over its “Fenty” line of shoes.  The “Fenty” label has become popular, in part, due to the influence of music artist, Rihanna as the label’s brand ambassador.  In its complaint, Puma claims that it keeps the volume of the “Fenty” label products small and limits sales to increase the label’s desirability.

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

March 24, 2017 Loni Morrow and Jonathan Hyman

The U.S. Supreme Court issued their opinion on Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands on Wednesday, March 22.  Should fashion designers rejoice or be fearful?  That depends.  Designers who repeatedly have original fashion designs copied by others should start rejoicing.  On the other hand, those designers that make their bread and butter by copying others fashion designs may need to revamp their business plan.

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’: Trade Dress and the Distinctive Look of a Boot Sole

Airwair, the owner of the Dr. Martens brand, recently launched a series of lawsuits in the Northern District of California to enforce the trade dress of its “iconic boots and shoes.”  One lawsuit was filed in October against Wanted Shoes, and one more recently in February against the Steve Madden brand.

Does Louis Vuitton Lack A Sense Of Humor? The Parody Defense Is No Laughing Matter For Brand Owners

January 13, 2017 Charlene Azema and Jonathan Hyman

On December 22, 2016, the Second Circuit gave tote bag manufacturer My Other Bag an early Christmas present by tossing out luxury giant Louis Vuitton’s claims of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and trademark dilution and agreeing with the District Court’s finding that My Other Bag was shielded from liability by the parody defense.

More Than Zero: Under the Lanham Act, One Interstate Sale Qualifies as Actual Use of a Trademark in Commerce

November 16, 2016 Jonathan Hyman and Scott Forbes

In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected shoe manufacturer Adidas’s application to trademark the phrase “ADIZERO,” due to a likelihood of confusion with an existing mark: “ADD A ZERO,” a clothing trademark held by the Christian Faith Fellowship Church of Zion, Illinois.  The Church used the phrase on caps and other apparel that it sold for fundraising purposes.

Some Like It Infringed? Monroe Estate Continues Intellectual Property Battles Despite Lack of Publicity Rights

November 14, 2016 Jonathan Hyman and Loni Morrow

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016 the estate of Marilyn Monroe filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Fashion Central.  The Monroe Estate claims that Fashion Central infringes its intellectual property rights in the MARILYN MONROE mark, among other things, by selling the following garments:

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

November 3, 2016 Jonathan Hyman and Loni Morrow

The closely watched case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands was argued in front of the the Supreme Court on Monday, offering anxious fashion designers a glimpse into how the Justices may rule. 

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