Intellectual property issues are increasingly impacting the fashion world. Months after Christian Louboutin won a trademark battle over its red-soled shoes, the Gap is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit over its own footwear line.
Designer Charles Philip Shanghai alleges that the Gap essentially pilfered his designs in its latest line of moccasin-style loafers. Like Shanghai’s own collection, the shoes feature a blue and white striped insole. The complaint also notes that the names of the shoes, which include “Phillip Moccasin Slipper” and “Phillip Slipper,” are not a coincidence.
Shanghai has two trademark applications pending for the blue striped lining in his shoe designs and claims that Gap is simply trying to sell cheaper knock-offs. “It’s upsetting for me,” Philip told the New York Post. “They’re using the same stripes, the same colors, the same kind of name. But we have a lot of attention to detail. They sell the shoes without [that].”
Although the price points for the shoes vary by at least $100 dollars and Shanghai’s shoes are traditionally sold at high-end retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, the lawsuit contends that there is still a high likelihood of customer confusion. Shanghai specifically points to the current trend, employed by Gap and other clothing chains, to partner with well-known luxury designers. He argues that past partnerships could lead consumers to believe that the Gap shoes are the result of a legitimate collaboration.
Shanghai’s complaint asserts claims for trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, dilution, and right of publicity He is also seeking injunctive relief and lost profits.