As my name came from the famous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” where Audrey Hepburn made the little black dress famous, it is no surprise that I am a BCBG Max Azria fan. The famous designer was recently dealt a blow by a Pennsylvania court.
BCBG, taken from the French phrase “Bon Chic, Bon Genre” (slang for good style, good attitude), was using the trademark “True People” for a line of clothing. The line was not one that would be worn by Angelina Jolie on the red carpet, but rather a more economically priced line. Last year, BCBG bought the company G&G Retail Inc with its 450 stores out of bankruptcy and sought to put this line of clothing in these stores. However, Urban Outfitters sued BCBG to enjoin BCBG from using “True People” alleging that the trademark infringed on Urban Outfitters’ trademark “Free People.” It further argued that even the clothing tags for “True People” were similar to those of “Free People.”
Last week, a Pennsylvania court found that BCBG’s “True People” infringed on Urban Outfitters’ trademark. Urban Outfitters not only was granted a permanent injunction, but also a damages award of $1.34 million. To add insult to injury, the court awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of $5,000 as a sanction because BCBG had delayed the proceedings.
BCBG and its trademark attorneys will have to find another trademark to register for use with this economically priced clothing line. I will be watching stores for it.