SKIMS, Hims, and the evolving chaotic potential in the Uber brand market-Fashion Law

2021-11-13 07:20:12 By : Mr. Jacky Wu

Kim Kardashian's burgeoning homewear brand Skims may be considering expansion. In the recently announced enthusiasm for cooperation with Fendi, it was reported that the cooperation generated $1 million in sales in just one minute this week. Last year, the consultants of the reality TV superstar company quietly submitted a proposal to the United States. Trademark registration application. The "Hims by Skims" Patent and Trademark Office for "hats"; leggings; home wear; shapewear; slippers; socks; sweatpants; T-shirts; underwear; boxer briefs; men's shorts; It shows that this brand with a history of nearly three years is preparing to enter the menswear market. 

The Skims trademark registration application in November 2020 was filed based on the intention of use (and to replace any existing use of the trademark "Hims" by KKW and the company so far), which is likely to mean a "Hims by Skims" "The male-focused adventure may never really come true. Nevertheless, the name of Skims and its potential uses are interesting due to the existence of another existing brand with a very similar name. Another market player is Hims, a four-year-old telemedicine company that sells prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements (ie erectile dysfunction, hair loss, acne and anxiety drugs) online, and also sells men’s personal care products . 

Sweatpants and supplements-and of course prescription drugs-occupy different parts of each other's market, but there are a few key things (at least for me) that are worth considering, because they may confuse Hims by Skims and Hims-which is why Filed its own trademark application in category 3 in October 2021 for everything from shampoos and colognes to anti-wrinkle creams and facial moisturizers-so if Kim's Skims turns to male consumers, it may suffer To boycott.

The main issue worthy of consideration is the natural expansion zone, which is a trademark doctrine that basically believes that the existing rights of the trademark holder can be extended to other market areas that can be reasonably expected to enter. For an example of how it works recently, the organizers of Woodstock argued in their case filed in federal court in New York in 2018 that although their main business is focused on holiday production, the sales of recreational marijuana are expanding. In the range. Such entertainment services, therefore, they will not infringe the rights of other entities with federally registered "Woodstock" trademarks for smoking-related items by using holiday names on entertainment cannabis products. In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction in favor of the Woodstock organizers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The issue of expansion area also appeared in the dispute between Off-White and SC Johnson about their respective OFF trademarks. The multinational consumer goods and chemical company argued that its products and Off-White’s products not only “may be marketed and sold to the same Consumers, and flow in the same trade channel", but Off-White’s products, that is, the bag in this case, "for the products that SC Johnson sells under OFF, may be in the expansion area! Mark", thus The possibility of further confusion.

Nevertheless, in its own expanding field of controversy, Zara successfully blocked the registration of the “Zara Tanzania Adventures” trademark for use in category 39 (travel and tourism services), category 41 (wildlife education) and training services, ecological , Hunting) and 43 (travel agency and hotel services) as early as 2019. At the time, Simon Casinader and Daniel Cartmell of K&L Gates pointed out that the Spanish fast fashion brand’s victory in the European Court of Justice “demonstrates the far-reaching and evolving nature of fashion brands and the markets they can operate and are expanding into.”

If Hims and its female-centric rival Hers have more than 500,000 subscription members, then the extended area theory may prove to be a useful tool if it adds merchandise to its products. After all, the company is expanding. It launched a new app this week and is equipped with a "membership store." The San Francisco-based company said it would "combine all Hims & Hers product portfolios from support Sleep supplements and products to solve hair loss-into a simple and personalized space."

Since the app is the first of a wider range of "additional educational programs, health content, community support and other services"-and other commodities-"over time and based on consumer needs and feedback" And moving to physical stores through the newly announced partnership with Walgreens, it’s not hard to imagine Hims trying to strengthen its “community” through branded products, such as T-shirts and even underwear (the latter and many other buzzing direct-to-consumer The author’s company did the same, removing light years from erectile dysfunction drugs). 

One company that comes to mind is Glossier, which initially only sold cosmetics, but later expanded into clothing and accessories, including branded hoodies, bags, and water bottles. If there are any signs of its pending trademark application, Glossier is seeking to further expand into the market with vitamins and supplements and family-oriented products such as candles. 

There seem to be countless other examples, as companies continue to blur the line between traditional products and what modern companies can expect to cater to brand-satisfied, community-oriented millennials. Peloton provides exercise products and sells a lot; the interactive fitness platform sold 600,000 branded apparel in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Ritz Paris and Frame collaborated to launch products with trademarks. The shaving company Harry's has expanded beyond razors and currently sells hats, pockets and boxers on its e-commerce website. Alcohol brand Haus offers branded handbags. Hell, if you want to express your love for soy meal replacement drinks through branded T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, even Soylent has products. 

In this context, considering that almost every lively company—from beverage manufacturers to exercise bike companies—is first of all a brand (ideally, an Instagram-friendly brand) that happens to also sell products/services, It may not be arguing that the goods are definitely within the expansion range he (and she) can imagine. As for whether anyone is willing to wear the name of the company that provides them with acne or anxiety medication, it is of course another matter. 

Another key point worth considering is the role of cooperation in resolving potential confusion (the core element of trademark infringement claims). As TFL wrote at least in 2017, the impact of brand cooperation has become the norm for fashion brands and consumer goods manufacturers, which may make consumers more and more easily confused about the source of goods/services, because sometimes, the source may be more than one. An entity. In other words, given that companies continue to rely on collaborative creativity (one might argue that this is the opposite of actual creativity), it is entirely possible that any given product on the market is the result of collaboration and/or more and more Brands are participating in this collaborative effort, thereby blurring the boundaries between the products of their respective brands.

(In fact, Burberry debated this in a trademark lawsuit filed against Target in 2018, in which its lawyers claimed that because of “Target’s well-known history of working with popular brands and fashion designers to promote and sell Target’s exclusive limited edition collections "In other words, because Target has had a series of collaborations in the past, it is easy for anyone to tell if something is the product of future collaboration?)

Whether it is Off-White and IKEA's co-branded household products, Proenza Schouler and Mercedes-Benz clothing, or inter-industry cooperation that continues to enter the market regularly, all have increased the possibility of confusion. A cartoon composed of Balenciaga merchandise and the Simpsons. In addition, there are arguably unlikely collaborations between the same bed and different dreams, such as LVMH’s Fendi and Capri’s Versace, the determined jewelry company Tiffany & Co. and the much-hyped streetwear brand Supreme, or homewear. Company Skims and high-end fashion brand Fendi. 

Ultimately, the reality is that in order to continue to create novelties that appeal to consumers, almost any combination can lead to the often hyped collaboration (Crocs x Hidden Valley Ranch, anyone?). At the same time, in terms of what a brand's reasonable expansion area might/should look like, there seems to be much less excluded. It has always been easy for the trademark itself to take many forms-from red zip tie and pink bubble wrap to mixed logos from different companies (a la Yeezy Gap and Gucci x Balenciaga brands. All in all, this is talking about the concept of origin At times, the Hims of Skims and a large number of other examples may confuse consumers. 

If/when Kardashian’s brand actually starts using Hims by Skims in business, it will be interesting to see what (if any) happens; the US Patent and Trademark Office published the trademark in May and last month It approved Skims’ first request to extend the time for submitting a statement of use. If Hims takes action, this will not be the first time Kardashian has faced resistance due to trademarks. In fact, this summer, after filing trademark applications for her skincare companies SKKN and SKKN by Kim, Kim got involved in a separate trademark dispute.

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