We've selected an Opinion of the Day, and it has to do with two things that have long eluded our thinking: designer jeans and trademark law.
Today the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit stepped in the middle of a competition between U.S.-based Fame Jeans Inc. and the Danish company Aktieselskabet AF (henceforth referred to as "Bestseller") to register a trademark for Jack & Jones jeans. They strike the BLT as a tad twee, but we leave it to you to decide. Click here to shop online for Bestseller’s version of J&J jeans. And click here for ATL's humorous take on the opinion earlier today.
Anyway, the court's opening was what really got us: “For some reason,” begins Judge Janice Rogers Brown, “a pair of jeans labeled Jack & Jones will sell for the equivalent of $96.”
For some reason indeed. We hasten to add that in some circles, $96 for designer denim is positively cut-rate. Then Brown gets a bit goofy: “Clearly there is magic in the name, and Fame Jeans tried to capture that magic by registering Jack & Jones as a trademark in the United States.”
Bestseller “generated the magic,” as Brown says, by hawking J&J jeans around the world since 1990. Fame, seeing an opportunity, has thrown everything in Bestseller’s way to stop it from registering a trademark in the states.
And Fame has largely succeeded until today. Brown, joined by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judge Judith Rogers, disagreed with the district court’s interpretation of the pleading standard required by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and ordered the district court to hear new claims.
DLA Piper’s Monica McCabe argued for Besteller, and Duane Morris’ Robert Byer argued for Fame Jeans.
It’s not wholly a win for Bestseller the court found that some of Bestseller’s claims were legally flawed but it’s probably the best news the company has received since applying for the trademark in Canada in 2003. From there, Bestseller planned to tunnel into the American market, but Fame preemptively applied for the trademark.
For now, the denim wars roil on. Read the rest of the opinion here.