Miller Barondess Sues Clothing Label Zara for Infringement as Covered by Law360

Miller Barondess Sues Clothing Label Zara for Infringement as Covered by Law360

By Lauren Berg, Law360 – January 23, 2020 – Clothing retailer Zara USA, Inc. has “blatantly and unlawfully” copied the design of Atelier Luxury Group LLC’s Amiri MX2 “combination skinny biker” jeans, according to a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in California federal court that accuses Zara of piggybacking off Amiri’s success.

Fashion label Amiri is influenced by the “rock ’n’ roll, punk and grunge culture in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, and has seen massive success since it launched in 2013. In January 2019 the brand debuted its Amiri MX2 jeans, which retail for $1,150 and feature Italian stretch denim, pleated leather panels, zippered thigh pockets and zippers on the knees, the label says in the suit.

The Amiri MX2 jeans are famous in the fashion community, according to the complaint, and have been worn by influential people including Jay-Z, Madonna, Kendall Jenner and Kanye West. The jeans are sold in more than 150 retailers around the world, including Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman, Amiri says.

“Amiri [as a brand] has enjoyed immense and rapid success in just a few years, reaching more than $20 million in revenue by 2017, and doubling that to more than $40 million in revenue by 2018,” according to the complaint.

In December, Zara tried to cut into that success by selling a knockoff version of the trousers that share the same distinctive features as the Amiri MX2 jeans, according to the suit.

Zara never asked for a license to use Amiri’s trade dress and its actions “amount to a blatant, willful, and conscious disregard for [Amiri’s], and were knowingly and intentionally taken to capitalize on the goodwill, recognition and fame associated with the Amiri MX2 jeans,” Amiri says.

The suit lodges claims of federal trade dress infringement, trade dress dilution and unfair competition. Amiri seeks compensatory damages of no less than $3 million and punitive damages, as well as an injunction barring Zara from continuing to infringe Amiri’s trade dress.

This isn’t the first time Zara has been accused of trademark infringement.

In May 2015, the retailer was accused by Seychelles Imports LLC of copying its clothing labels. Zara’s own mark is either confusingly similar or identical to Seychelles’ own, according to the complaint, and draws customers away from its products.

That suit was dismissed without prejudice for a lack of prosecution, according to court documents.

“Zara’s conduct cannot go unchecked. It’s a blatant violation of law for the company to copy our client’s designs,” Atelier’s counsel, Sasha Frid of Miller Barondess LLP, told Law360 Thursday. “Atelier invested a great deal of time, resources and skill to develop its product line. We will hold Zara accountable and look forward to our day in court.”

Contact information for Zara was not immediately available.

Atelier is represented by A. Sasha Frid and Jeffery B. White of Miller Barondess LLP.

Counsel information for Zara was not immediately available.

The case is Atelier Luxury Group LLC v. Zara USA Inc., case number 2:20-cv-00675, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.