hanes stedman polo A Ruling by French Court Finds Copyright in a Design
Saint Laurent first created in 1966 and showed again during the haute couture fall collections for 1991 92.
The Paris Tribunal de Commerce, a French commercial court, also awarded Mr. Lauren $87,720 in damages for a defamation lawsuit he brought against Pierre Berge, the chairman of Yves Saint Laurent, for comments about Mr. Lauren in Women’s Wear Daily, a fashion trade newspaper.
In the April 11 issue of the paper, Mr. Berge was quoted as saying, “It’s one thing to draw inspiration from another designer; it’s quite another to rip off a design, line for line, cut for cut, which is what Ralph Lauren did.”
Mr. Lauren had sold 123 of the tuxedo dresses, the details of which differed from the St. Laurent version, at his Paris boutique for about $1,000. The dresses that remained were seized and impounded in December, when Yves Saint Laurent brought the lawsuit.
The case may be the first time that a tactic used against counterfeiters of fashion goods impounding of merchandise has been used by one designer against another.
The case has riveted the French fashion community, not only because of the famous personalities involved, but because it is the first time a designer has been able to protect a dress as “intellectual property.”
Anthony Keats, an outside counsel for Ralph Lauren and a partner in Baker Hostetler, said: “It certainly raises a flag for the American apparel industry. What it will say is they need to do some research ahead of time if they’re going to introduce designs which they believe are similar to those they’ve seen in the European markets.”