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What About Yves Is Getting Sued by Saint Laurent over Parody T-Shirts

Saint Laurent Paris is targeting parody T-shirt company What About Yves in a new lawsuit claiming the company infringed on the Saint Laurent trademark. The T-shirt in question reads “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves,” rendered in the logo typeface the house adopted (or reissued, as it is inspired by one of the label’s vintage logos) once Hedi Slimane took the helm. Saint Laurent and Luxury Goods International, the company that holds the trademark rights, claim that the shirts are infringing and diluting the luxury house’s trademark and causing unfair competition and false designation of origin.

The T-shirts are clearly a parody and to us, it seems a little absurd to argue that customers would actually confuse them with something made by Saint Laurent. But according to The Fashion Law, when What About Yves founder Jeanine Heller went to file the T-shirts with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (after numerous requests from LGI to stop selling them and after LGI filed trademarks of its own), the USPTO found the logos too similar, subsequently challenging Heller’s application. At one point, Heller even offered to sell the Ain’t Laurent trademark to LGI. 

LGI says that Heller is purposefully trying to pass her products as authentic Saint Laurent products and wants her to cease selling them and fork over cash to pay for various damages. “[The] Defendant is engaged in a pattern of deliberate and willful infringement designed to confuse and deceive consumers as to the source and origin of its products and trade upon the valuable intellectual property, goodwill and reputation of luxury brands, including Plaintiff.” 

What About Yves has created a number of designer parody T-shirts, including the Ghostbusters Chanel shirt which landed the company in a pot of legal hot water. As for unfair competition, it’s hard to compare a $48 T-shirt with a designer version that sells for $650 or more. But that’s for the law to decide.

[via The Fashion Law]