What's New, Copycat?
I was fascinated by a Fashionista article titled, “What’s the Beef Between Outdoor Voices and Bandier Right Now?” because I wonder if anyone actually thinks this is a new concept. Unfortunately, innovative, creative, and especially successful brands have been getting ripped off since...always. Working in retail, and more specifically in operations, I developed a strong interest in loss prevention, copyright infringement, and counterfeiting. Although this particular case affects the fitness industry and possibly our community at large, copyright infringement lawsuits in the fitness industry are not at all a recent discovery. Whether it's a design, logo, patent, intellectual property, or even an aesthetic, retailers are taking action, potentially at a high cost, to protect their assets.
Adidas vs. Sketchers
There’s really no need for an explanation here. In July 2016, Adidas sued because Sketchers copies the Stan Smith sneaker. Sketchers was like, “but our boss told us to, so it’s legal!” The judge was like...no, no it’s not.
Under Armour vs. Adidas
Adidas won a lawsuit they filed against Under Armour in 2014 claiming its intellectual property was being used and ten of its mobile fitness product patents were being infringed upon. Basically - they thought they were being ripped off. It may have started when a former Adidas employee went to work for Under Armour and shared all their secrets...
Zumba vs. eBay Sellers
Zumba is VERY strict about their trademarks and copyrights. As a former member of the Zumba Instructor Network, I've seen firsthand how the company has set air-tight guidelines for trademark use. They found people selling unauthorized, counterfeit Zumba DVDs on eBay (why though?). One in particular was a woman in California. The case settled and Zumba obvi won.
Rihanna’s Fenty label for Puma vs. Forever 21
I could probably author an entire book on Forever 21’s legal issues. They. Copy. Everyone. which is why all of their clothes are $12.90. Anyway, badgirlriri’s squad said 3 different designs of F21’s sneakers are blatant copies, and F21 said Fenty lacks originality. As of last year, Puma has already taken this to appeals court because they lost the first (and second) time around.
Forever 21 vs. Adidas
It’s not their first rodeo. In 2015, Adidas sued Forever 21 for imitating their famous Three-Stripe Mark, knowing it would lead customers to think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Looney Tunes sweatshirts (not making this up) were produced in partnership with or authorized by Adidas. Fast forward to 2017, F21 is upset and calls Adidas a bully for suing them for having literally anything with stripes on it. So the judge was like, okay F21, you can have this one.
Although Team OV hasn't filed for legal action against Bandier x Net-a-Porter's We Over Me (Yet. Or at least as of yesterday...) I'm still interested to see how it all pans out, and how leaders in the fitness and fashion industries going forward will draw the thin line between creativity and copyright infringement.