9 October 2017Copyright

Litigation roundup: Audrey Hepburn’s son, no hard feelings and a sperm bank

WIPR rounds up the most-read IP litigation cases that we reported on in the week beginning October 2, with Hard Rock Café and a sperm bank both featuring.

Continue reading to find out which stories made our top five.

5. Audrey Hepburn’s son steps up IP battle

On Friday, WIPR  reported that the son of late British actress Audrey Hepburn had hit back in an image brawl with a charity set up in his mother’s name.

In February, Sean Ferrer was sued by Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, which raises money for children’s charities through exhibits of Hepburn memorabilia. He was accused of interfering with the charity’s work for his own benefit.

At issue was the right of the fund to continue using Hepburn’s name, likeness and image in connection with exhibitions which centre on a collection of gowns.

But last week Ferrer hit back with a lawsuit of his own, stating that any use since he stepped down from the charity in 2015 has falsely created “the impression of an endorsement of its activity by Audrey Hepburn”.

4. All not going swimmingly in Seattle

In at number four is a dispute between the Seattle Sperm Bank (SSB) and two former employees who allegedly stole trade secrets and confidential information.

SSB accused two former employees, who were hired in May and June 2015, of stealing trade secrets before setting up a rival firm, Cryobank America.

It was further claimed the two employees then accessed confidential data stored on a server, including forms and documents filled out by clients, and took this information with them to the new firm.

3. No hard feelings as hotel chain and Hard Rock Café settle

The third most-read litigation article was a settlement between US-based Red Lion Hotels and restaurant chain Hard Rock Café.

It came after Red Lion Hotels filed a trade dress infringement complaint at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in July, claiming Hard Rock’s Reverb hotel was too similar to the Hotel RL brand.

The complaint said that Hard Rock had copied the “core elements” of Red Lion Hotels’ brand.

Details of the dismissal were not disclosed, and while the Hard Rock Reverb hotel  website is still active, it is not currently taking bookings.

2. Coachella and Urban Outfitters end clash over trademarks

Last Monday, WIPR reported that Coachella and Urban Outfitters had dismissed their dispute over ‘Coachella’ branded clothing. The dispute was brought by the music festival organiser in March.

Coachella claimed that Urban Outfitters and its subsidiary Free People had used its trademarks in webpage titles, meta description tags, meta keyword tags and URLs for pages containing the “directly competitive goods”.

Urban Outfitters then filed a motion for dismissal in June, claiming that it does “not belong” in the case as Urban Outfitters and Free People are “recognised as distinct legal entities”.

The case was then dismissed.

1. Levi’s denim dispute

In at number one was a dispute we reported on last Monday.

Clothing brand Levi Strauss sued a Connecticut-based company for trademark infringement relating to “tabs” attached to the back pocket of trousers.

Vineyard Vines was accused of selling “substantial quantities of jeans bearing pocket tab devices that are highly similar” to Levi Strauss’s trademarks.

The  products in question are trousers sold by Vineyard with a “tab” attached to the top left of the back pocket, with the Vineyard logo embroidered on it.

“Vineyard Vines’ actions have caused and will cause irreparable harm for which money damages and other remedies are inadequate,” the complaint read.

As well as damages, a transfer of profits and injunctive relief, Levi Strauss was also asking for Vineyard to be required to immediately supply its counsel with a complete list of individuals and entities which have been sold the products.

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More on this story

4 October 2017   Two former employees of the Seattle Sperm Bank have been sued for allegedly stealing trade secrets to set up a rival bank in Texas.
6 October 2017   The son of late British actress Audrey Hepburn has hit back in an image brawl with a charity set up in his mother’s name.