Last month, a New York based fabric manufacturer, Klauber Brothers Inc., filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in California federal court against apparel companies owned by Kendall and Kylie Jenner for allegedly stealing the company’s lace designs and using them to make and sell apparel under the Kendall + Kylie collection name.
According to the complaint, Klauber Brothers, Inc. holds copyright registrations for two lace designs, and sold over 30 million yards of fabric featuring the designs to numerous parties in the fashion and apparel industries in New York and Los Angeles. Following the distribution of the product bearing the protected designs, Klauber Brothers alleged that the Jenners created and sold garments bearing lace-featuring designs that are “identical or substantially similar to” the fabric, and alleged that their infringement was willful.
Klauber Brothers, Inc. seeks to enjoin the Jenners from further infringing its lace designs and to award lost profits, among other relief.
Takeaway: Product designs such as lace have proven to be popular points of copyright infringement litigation. Marketers and retailers should take caution when advertising and selling apparel that may appear common or ornamental, but may still be protectable under trademark or copyright law.