Is this considered a knockoff?

  1. I was in the Bay (department store) where they are displaying handbags that look like a copy of the Birkin. It doesn't say Hermes on it, but you certainly know what they are intended to be. Isn't this fraud? Very tacky IMO, what do you ladies think?
  2. its a knock off which is intellectual property theft in my opinion, but it isnt a replica, which is pure fraud. fraud is much, much worse in my opinion, but knock offs definetely knock things down a few notches too.
  3. May fall within the 'inspired' bag definition.
  4. Inspired bag definition. That would make sense! Maybe I should take pictures and post them here! Thank you!!!!
  5. Thats what I was thinking too.
  6. Copying a shape or style isn't illegal, fraudulent or a violation of US copyright laws. Only using the same trademark or logo without the owners permission is. I don't have a problem with inspired by items, they are everywhere and you can't go to a Target, Macys or most mall stores without coming across something that was not inspired by a higher end items. Bracelets with hearts hanging off similar to the Tiffany bracelet. The red patent buckle belts you can find in a zillion womens clothing stores now because of the Fendi belt. The Chrysler 300 car aka fake Bentley. The quilted and 'motorcycle' bags that I see in Spiegel catalog which at a glance would seem like Chanel or Balenciaga bags. Sheets I can find at Target that have a similar pattern to higher end Ralph Lauren sheets. The wrap dress found in a low end store in the mall with a pattern very similar to a Diane von Furstenburg dress seen on the runways. Target's version of the Chloe Paddington. The fragrances in the drug store that say they smell like a higher end fragrance. Sunglasses I can find for $10 in Nordstroms that have the same shape as a high end brand but no logo. I mean this is everywhere. I feel like if I don't mind it with other goods like sheets I can't hate on it with regard to bags though I do understand how it feels to have the real bag and see tons of inspired by items everywhere.
  7. I saw that one too - there was one that looked like a fake matte Croc Birkin last time I was at the Bay - ugh.
    Agree with BLL that most things are "inspired" these days...
  8. Well, consider this..

    • think of the major designers Dior and Vuitton come to mind first... Both have versions of a speedy bag, I have no idea which came first and surely one is derivative of the other.
    • Or consider, the HAC and Birkin, everyone talks the Birkin (which is a beautiful bag) being so innovative but IMHO it is a short HAC with longer handles. A Birkin is a knockoff of a HAC, IMHO.
    I don't think there has been a truly novel idea in fashion for eons - everything is derivative of an existing design

    What matters to me, is whether a seller pretends his/her wares are something they are not not - that's fraud
  9. Hermes is quite careful in guarding the "brand."--remember the incident of the Jelly Kellys four years ago? I'm not sure what the ultimate resolution was, but I do remember the bags were pulled at some point. Here's an article:

    Originally posted by Fashion Wire Daily New York August 8@ 2003

    I'm Rubber -- You're Sued:
    Hermes Takes On 'Jelly' Knockoffs

    By Jenny Bailly

    The novelty fashion item of the summer may get even hotter now that the courts are involved. Hermes last week began cracking down on retailers selling the "Jelly Kelly," a rubber knock-off of the French fashion house's iconic Kelly bag, named for screen icon Grace.

    Southampton retailer Steven Stolman, who had been selling the candy-colored waterproof versions this summer, has already been hit with a lawsuit, filed in the Federal Court in Central Islip, N.Y. on July 31.

    According to Joseph C. Gioconda, an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis, the Manhattan law firm handling the case, Stolman isn't a lone target. "Hermes doesn't selectively enforce," he said, noting that investigators are on the case and were even prowling the AccessoriesCircuit at Pier 94 this week.

    Gioconda got a call at 11am Monday that a company called Red Luggage was displaying the bags at the trade show. He had investigators on the scene within two hours, but according to Gioconda, by then the company no longer had the merchandise and claimed that they never had.

    Hermes' recently-filed lawsuit against Stolman doesn't seem to be scaring off most accessories retailers though.

    Other companies at the AccessoriesCircuit were still taking orders for the rubber bags Tuesday afternoon. The Margaret Loves Peter booth was swarmed with retailers eager to place orders for similar bags that that company calls "Groovy Grace" and "Jelly Jane" (presumably after Hermes' other iconic bag, the Birkin). "I think we've sold a few million," sighed a harried rep, who hadn't left her seat all day because she'd been taking so many orders.

    Los Angeles-based retailer Intuition has also been selling the bags, which have been so popular they're already out of stock. According to a rep at their toll-free number, a new shipment is on the way in three to four weeks. Their website,, is still accepting orders for the bags, priced from $150 to $225.

    Kitson, another LA boutique, said they're expecting their shipment in about a month and a half. Owner Fraser Ross was traveling and couldn't be reached for comment.

    It's not just the little guys that Hermes is targeting though. "It should be known that stores like Henri Bendel, they're going to be sued too if they keep it up," said Gioconda, who has been working with the litigious leather goods company to combat counterfeiting for over six years.

    Bendel general manager Ed Burstell wasn't available for comment Friday, but a trip to the store revealed that the bags had been in stock and are sold out. A saleswoman offered to take our name for a waiting list, and brought a lime green sample from the back, priced at $128 and bearing a "made in Italy" sticker.

    Gioconda said Hermes is certainly going after the Italian manufacturing centers that the bags are coming from, and explained that the company also works with U.S. customs officials to stop all counterfeit merchandise from coming across the border.

    As for the products that do make it to retailers, they won't stay there for long if Hermes has anything to say about it.

    "Hermes is very, very vigilant about this," says Gioconda. "I don't know many companies who will sue people on 24 hours notice."

    Hermes was first alerted to the existence of the Jelly Kelly when the New York Times ran a piece on July 15 about the bags flying out of Stolman's Southampton boutique. In that article, Stolman insisted the bags weren't knockoffs: "It's just an amusement," he said, "like a Rolls-Royce made out of plastic." Reached at his Southampton boutique Friday, Stolman said he could not comment on the case.

    Hermes' lawsuit against Stolman seeks "to enjoin and obtain monetary and injunctive relief for Stolman's deliberate infringement of Hermes' trademarks and trade dress." And that monetary relief has the potential to run pretty steep. Hermes has already won two jury awards for $1 million each in its battle against knockoffs, most recently in 2001 against Lederer of Paris, with stores in Manhattan, Paris and London, for infringing on the design of the Kelly.

    The Stolman lawsuit asserts that, "the design of the Kelly bag, specifically its unique closure, lock, key and shape, are strongly associated with Hermes."

    Melinda Kingsley, the main floor manager at the Hermes store on Madison Avenue, has made a statement to the court saying that the boutique has fielded numerous calls and walk-in inquires about the "Jelly Kelly." Many of those customers were apparently familiar with a 1996 promotion in which Hermes sold clear plastic Kellys.

    Gioconda points out that the French company also makes some of its bags from rubber, though a high-quality, environmentally sound Amazonia version.

    In fact, Hermes has made its Kelly and Birkin bags in not only leather and rubber, but also plastic, denim, horsehair, canvas and ostrich. President and CEO Robert Chavez describes the two bags as Hermes' "flagship products." They have made starring appearances in everything from a "Sex and the City" episode in which a character strives to acquire a Birkin, to new film release "Le Divorce" in which Kate Hudson's character acquires a Kelly from an older admirer. But at $16,000, that red croc version ain't made of Jelly.
  10. I think so too.
  11. I totally forgot trade dress is where you copy the look and feel of an item to the point it could cause confusion to consumers that it is the exception is when a feature is functional like a zipper. They could sue under trade dress violations even if no logo was used or the Hermes name wasn't used (which would be trademark violations).
  12. BlkLadyLaw, thank you so much for sharing! I'm not familiar with legal terms but I hope to learn more. If a company copies the design, look & feel of say, the Fendi Spy bag, does it mean that Fendi could sue the company for trade dress violation?

    p.s. I've heard an "urban legend" that if a company copies a design such that the "knock-off" differs just a tiny bit in dimensions from the real thing, they won't get's like a "loop-hole" or something. :confused1: :confused1:
  13. This article has a good description of how far you can go with copying a design

    The Trademark Blog: Can I Knock-Off the Louis Vuitton Cherry Blossom Bag?

    Quotes from the article:

    "Recent Supreme Court decisions put a brake on the broad protection of product designs, including fashion items, as trade dress. The plaintiff now has to prove, often by expensive survey evidence, that consumers actually recognize the design as an indication of its source, i.e., that they would expect all goods of that design to come from the same manufacturer."

    "Further, the plaintiff has the burden to demonstrate that the product elements it claims protectable are not essential to the function of the product, or make the product better or cheaper to manufacture. (Generally, no one can claim a monopoly on fine leather, or particular fabrics, such as plastic-coated canvas, or gold-plated hardware.)"

    "In at least one recent case, however, Coach did manage to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that it was entitled to protection for a line of bags based upon the following description of its trade dress: glove-tanned leather; bound edges; heavy brass or nickel-plated brass hardware; and a hangtag with a beaded chain."

    Sample evidence to prove the case would be surveying consumers and seeing how many assume the bag is actually from Fendi or Hermes. It seems that you would have to alter a few things to prevent such confusion...if you did then it could possibly be a legal inspired design. Hermes for example would claim the lock, the notched flap, the straps that go over the lock ...all the combined details are distinctive to consumers as identifying a Hermes bag.

    Disclaimer: The material above is provided for general informational purposes only. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. The use of this post does not create an attorney-client relationship.
  14. Thank you :flowers: The article from the trademark blog was an interesting read..
  15. Thank u, Blk Lady Law for the legal terms and the article. Only lawyers know this. If I studied law, I will fail immediately.

    Back to topic: They fall under the category, inspired bag. I agree with Blk Lady Law, there're so many things inspired nowadays. Go 2 any department store like Target, there is an inspired item. I don't mind inspired dresses coz' fashion do not have 2 be expensive. Inspired clothes is a way for those who don't have the means to look as if they're wearing designer stuff. That's the limit.

    I'm not a fan of inspired bags. I prefer a non-inspired bag from a lower end label.:yes: