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HBA Litigation Group Successfully Fends Off Attempt to Enjoin Use of the “New York Fashion Week” Name

In a case involving the signature events in American fashion, HBA litigators fended off a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented HBA’s client the Council of Fashion Designers of America (the “CFDA”) from using the New York Fashion Week name.

New York Fashion WeekFashion Week, Inc. (“FWI”) presents fashion shows to consumers, unlike than the shows directed to the fashion industry and media that have long been the foundation of New York Fashion Week.  After using other names to put on its shows, FWI obtained a trademark registration on the Supplemental Register for the term “New York Fashion Week” in 2014.  FWI began using that name even though it only put on one show at a time, taking place on only one day.

As it had for many decades, the CFDA had continued to use the New York Fashion Week name to promote the fashion events that it had scheduled, including the semi-annual women’s fashion events.  But on June 28, 2016, FWI brought a lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order against the CFDA and co-defendant WME IMG LLC (“IMG”) claiming that the defendants’ use of the trademarks NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW infringed FWI’s claimed rights to those marks.  On the next day, Judge John G. Koeltl of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that FWI had not made the requisite showing of irreparable harm and set a briefing schedule for FWI’s preliminary injunction motion to be heard on August 4, 2016.

In response to that motion, the CFDA argued that:  (1) FWI’s long delay in bringing its motion – roughly 18 months – negated any claims of irreparable harm; (2) FWI had not developed any trademark rights to NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW because it had no registrations on the Principal Register and could not make any showing that consumers identified those marks with FWI; and (3) the CFDA had prior trademark rights to the NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW trademarks because of its prior use of those trademarks and the public association of them with the CFDA.  In support of the last point, the CFDA submitted substantial evidence of media coverage, testimony from industry professionals, and even FWI’s own promotional materials that used those trademarks to refer to the CFDA’s events rather than FWI’s.

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HBA joins the Luxury Law Alliance

I only like luxury fashion. You have to decide where you stand. I like well-made, authentic clothes, well-crafted tailoring. I also like the dream and fantasy of luxury, the exception and rarity of it. I have no interest at all in fast retail. It is ambiguous. – Hedi Slimane

The law as it applies to luxury fashion companies is nuanced and evolving.  As such, the need to network with other lawyers working in the industry has never been greater.  The Luxury Law Alliance is the world’s first connected network for luxury lawyers. Its alumni include the best luxury companies with a network that showcases its members to the world of luxury from a legal perspective. After partner Douglas Hand attended and spoke at the Luxury Law Summit in London in May 2016, HBA was invited to become a member of the Luxury Law Alliance. HBA will continue to grow its already successful international practice headed by partner Carl Van der Zandt with engagements with fashion and luxury companies in Europe.

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HBAfashion’s Instagram account & Partner Douglas Hand featured in Law.com Article on Workplace Dress Codes

Erin Geiger Smith speaks with a number of fashion-forward attorneys about their trendy business-casual work wear in Forget Khakis, Law Firms Take ‘Casual’ to the Next Level.

Smith writes “Partner Douglas Hand at New York boutique law firm Hand Baldachin & Amburgey still thinks that a lawyer can rarely go wrong with a well-tailored suit, but his firm’s clients include cutting-edge clothing brands, so they have a little more fun with fashion than many firms. The firm’s Instagram account includes postings of an employee “Look of the Week,” recently featuring a man in a Rag & Bone striped vest and a woman sporting a Giambattista Valli sweater and black Sperry shoes. After prior failures to mandate a detailed dress code, Hand said he’s distilled his firm’s policy down to four words: Look capable and elegant.”

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HBA Litigation Group Secures Major Victory For Client In Trademark Lawsuit, Opening Up U.S. Market For Plastic Bag Closures

In a lengthy opinion resulting from nearly four years of litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found on June 14, 2016 that Netherlands-based Schutte Bagclosures Inc. (“Schutte”) did not infringe any trademark rights Kwik Lok Corporation (“Kwik Lok”) held in connection with the shape of plastic bag closures.  The court further held that Kwik Lok’s claimed trademark rights were invalid because the shape of the closure was “functional” and therefore could not be claimed as a trademark by Kwik Lok.

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CFDA Fashion Awards

The CFDA Fashion Awards recognize extraordinary design excellence in: womenswear, menswear, accessories, as well as accomplishments in journalism, creative vision, and lifetime achievement. The awards have been held annually since 1981 and they have been held in collaboration with Swarovski for the past 15 years.

This year’s Awards were held at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York with Joel McHale hosting and wearing a tuxedo designed by our menswear client David Hart.  HBA Partner Douglas Hand attended the event with Mr. Hart and was dressed by him as well.  The room was filled with designers, celebrities and fashion insiders and the CFDA once again did an excellent job coordinating and producing the event.

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