It's all beginning to unravel for clothing giant Cotton On Group (COG). They have been accused of stealing some looks that are so hot right now. Again. It is as if people are beginning to cotton on to the trend of big clothing companies taking `inspiration' from lesser known designers. Not cool. And courts are making them pay for their crimes against fashion.
US-based artist Elektra Gorski has commenced proceedings against COG in Australia, alleging copyright and trade mark infringement. What's the goss? Lettuce tell you all about it so you can decide whether Gorski will beet COG in court this season. Oh, those aren't typos. Since 2011 Gorski has been making and selling clothes, prints, totes and stickers bearing the slogan `Lettuce Turnip The Beet'. As cringe as that pun is (we can't talk, just look at the title of this update), Gorski is the registered trade mark owner in Australia and has the exclusive right to use and display that mark on the products she sells.
It doesn't even matter if COG were aware of the trade mark or intentionally copied the phrase or not. When it comes to trade marks, you can't use ignorance as an excuse. We have written about the importance of protecting your threads, whether they be the prints or the shape and look of the clothes themselves. Why? Because fast fashion houses will probably steal them. In 2008, COG found out the hard way that if you copy other designers you do so at your own peril (COG lost to Elwood in the Federal Court and had to sashay away).
But don't forget about the words that appear on clothes too. It is often easier to protect them than the clothes they are printed on. If you think of an amusing phrase, try and register the trade mark. It might just pay off. Earlier this year, COG reached a settlement with a Floridabased company after it accused COG of ripping off one of their trade marks.
Sure, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But we're pretty sure most designers trying to make ends meet will take some sweet compensation over flattery any day.