Puma and For­ever 21 Set­tle Fenty Footwear Law­suit

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was -

Puma and For­ever 21 are fi­nally step­ping out of the ring af­ter nearly two years of le­gal bat­tles cen­tered on Ri­hanna’s Fenty footwear de­signs.

The Ger­man ath­letic gi­ant sued the fast-fash­ion chain in March 2017 al­leg­ing copy­right, de­sign patent and trade dress in­fringe­ment re­lated to sev­eral of Fenty’s well-known shoe styles, in­clud­ing the bow slide, the faux-fur slide and the Creeper. The law­suit was filed shortly af­ter fans waged a so­cial me­dia cam­paign call­ing For­ever 21 out for its con­spic­u­ously — and, Puma ar­gued, “con­fus­ingly” — sim­i­lar de­signs.

The two par­ties filed doc­u­ments re­quest­ing a dis­missal with prej­u­dice. If ap­proved by the U.S. Dis­trict Court, both com­pa­nies will pay their own le­gal fees and Puma will not be able to sue For­ever 21 again over the de­signs in ques­tion.

Few weeks ago, For­ever 21 filed a mo­tion for sum­mary judge­ment ask­ing the court to dis­miss Puma’s de­sign patent claim re­lated to the Creeper style, ar­gu­ing that the shoe is based on a well-known look that dates back to at least the 1940s and that’s seen waves of pop­u­lar­ity since.

The re­tailer also ar­gued that Puma’s de­sign patent rights could only ex­tend to the spe­cific or­na­men­tal choices the brand made, in­clud­ing the place­ment of stitch­ing and ven­ti­la­tion holes and the ma­te­ri­als used.

For­ever 21 also upped the stakes last year when it claimed that Puma had com­mit­ted fraud in some of its fil­ings with the U.S. Patent and Trade­mark Of­fice and Copy­right Of­fice. As the fast-fash­ion re­tailer pointed out, Ri­hanna wasn’t named as an au­thor or in­ven­tor on the brand’s copy­right ap­pli­ca­tions and de­sign patents, de­spite be­ing named pub­licly as the de­signer of the shoes.

This isn’t For­ever 21’s first time de­fend­ing it­self against in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty claims from an­other brand (Adi­das and Gucci are two re­cent ex­am­ples). Most pre­vi­ous law­suits have like­wise ended in set­tle­ments, and odds are, this most re­cent case won’t be the last.

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