13 July 2017Trademarks

Dirty laundry aired in public as trademark suit filed

Two US clothing companies are going head to head in a battle over laundry-related trademarks.

Revise Clothing, of New Jersey, is worried it will be sued by New York-based Cels Enterprises for using the trademark ‘Hippie Laundry’ to sell boots, footwear, sandals, shoes and sneakers in class 25.

Cels owns trademarks for ‘Chinese Laundry’ and ‘Dirty Laundry’, covering shoes and footwear respectively, and claims that Revise’s use of ‘Hippy Laundry’ would infringe those marks.

As a result, Revise filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, July 11 seeking a declaration of trademark non-infringement and that no trademark dilution or tarnishment exists.

In the filing, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Revise said it is in “reasonable apprehension of an immediate and imminent lawsuit” by Cels and that such a lawsuit would cause monetary loss, loss of goodwill and “incalculable damage” to its relationship with one of its customers, Bon Ton Stores.

Revise already owns a mark in class 25 for ‘Hippie Laundry’, which covers jackets, shirts, skirts and other apparel for women and girls, but sought to expand by filing an intent-to-use application for boots, footwear, sandals, shoes and sneakers in the same class.

According to the suit, Cels contacted Revise in May after learning of the new application, and demanded that Revise withdraw its application and not use the mark on shoes.

However, Revise said it doesn’t believe any infringement exists, partly because ‘Chinese Laundry’ and ‘Dirty Laundry’ are “relatively weak” marks, given the widespread use of ‘Laundry’ marks in the apparel industry, “many of which include footwear”.

The clothing company also claimed that ‘Hippie Laundry’ is phonetically and visually different from the other trademarks and gives a “completely different commercial impression”.

Revise filed the action under the Lanham Act and common law, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. It wants a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Cels from engaging in “any act or omission intended to interfere with the importation and sale of Hippie Laundry shoes”.

The company, whose wholesales under the ‘Hippie Laundry’ mark have exceeded $10 million, also wants costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.

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