Fashionably GDPR

The Data Protection Directive is so last year. 2017 is all about the GDPR…

The GDP what?

GDPR deals with updates to EU laws on data protection and the more stringent rules to be imposed on anyone processing data in European member states. This post explains the changes in more detail and why fashion businesses should take note.

fas

To ensure your data protection fashion house is in order, read on…

I’m in fashion, why should I care?

So why should a fashion business care about changes to laws on data protection? Well, almost all fashion businesses will collect information, or “personal data”, from individuals, the most obvious example being consumer data collected through online sales. How many times have you personally made an online purchase requiring you to provide endless personal details such as your name, address, email address and possibly your date of birth? All of this is YOUR valuable personal data. How companies use that personal data is now even more strictly regulated than before.

Companies and individuals who do not handle this data in line with the new rules could be faced with a fine of up to 4% of its global annual turnover, or €20,000,000, whichever is more. Wow, and that’s not all…

Businesses that don’t get it together also risk legal action from the individuals whose personal data they are using, since the GDPR gives EU residents direct rights to lodge complaints, obtain court orders and compensation. Aside from this, if what is known as a “data breach” occurs (for example, huge amounts of customer data being lost or falling into the wrong hands) as a result of a failure to follow these rules, then the negative press that would likely follow could be detrimental to the business.

fashion-angel-london-business-mentoring_11

Avoid the headaches of having to deal with a data breach and ensure your business is ready 

So now I have your attention, let’s talk about what you need to know and how to avoid these nasties.

What exactly is GDPR?

We lawyers love an acronym, so for anyone who isn’t a mind reader, the “GDPR” stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. Essentially, it’s an updated version of the old EU data protection system. The GDPR refreshes the rules that must be followed by any organisation that processes (that is to say, uses in any manner) EU residents’ personal data and is aimed at giving people more control over that personal data.

Need to Know

Here are some main points you need to consider to get your data protection swag on:

  • Processors on the hook

To date, data controllers (those who have control over how data is stored, transferred or used) have been the party responsible for the safeguarding of individuals’ data, even where they instruct a third party to process data on their behalf. The changes ensure that not just controllers, but also processors (the third parties who are merely processing the data on behalf of the controller) share responsibility where appropriate.

This means that if for example you’re a data analytics company, reporting on certain data trends occurring among clientele of fashion royalty Chanel, then you, not just Chanel, could be on the hook. If by using Chanel’s data, containing personal information of Chanel customers residing within the EU, a data breach is committed through your failure to follow the GDPR then you will be responsible. This would be the case even where Chanel has ultimate control over how the data is processed.

coco_chanel_1920

Know your responsibilities as a data processor, it could be you on the hook!

So if you process personal data for customers, you need to start looking at your contracts with those customers. Equally, if you pass on any personal data of your individual customers, for example, for credit checking, then you should already have been making sure that your processors are aware of their obligations.

  • A right to be forgotten

An individual will have the right to insist controllers delete data about them, to the point where it cannot be recovered. However, it’s important to note that his right only applies where the controllers have no conceivable need to retain the information.  The old regime did place an obligation on controllers to delete personal data no longer needed, but under the new rules individuals have more clout to ensure this is done.

This can be costly for a business if its software doesn’t currently have the ability to erase data to the point of no return. If you’re savvy and are already thinking about updates to your software, you might want to start enquiring about this with your developer now.

data-erase

Be prepared and implement compliant systems early doors

  • Are you giving users enough information?

You will need to provide more detailed information about your data processing, for example, where it is going, what it’s used for and how long you intend to keep it. This information needs to be communicated clearly in an easy to read and easy access format that is written in a way that can be understood by those targeted by the organisation collecting and processing their data.

The practical effect of this is that privacy policies, as found on every website, will need to be drafted more carefully and often tailored to a specific audience.

  • Obtaining consent

Under the GDPR, consent to the processing of personal data must be freely given, specific, informed, unambiguous and displayed by a statement or by a clear and positive action.

Under the old regime, an organisation could rely on what was known as an “opt out” mechanism, i.e. on the presumption that where an individual does not contact them informing of their wish to opt out of data processing, then a simple privacy policy displayed clearly on the organisation’s website would do. This is no longer the case. Consent now has to be explicit, so nothing short of an “opt-in” tick box will suffice. Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent or opt-out at any time.

doisneau-chanel-stairs

Don’t stand around relying on opt out mechanisms. Take action now and ensure your websites enable opt in tick boxes

Brexit

No legal update would be complete without a comment on the effects of Brexit…

You might think, “bingo! We’re leaving the EU, surely if I’m a UK company, then this doesn’t apply to me?” WRONG! Any business, regardless of whether they are based in the EU or not, will still be expected to comply with the GDPR if they process the data of an individual residing in an EU member state.

So nice try, but if your customer base includes EU nationals then these rules still need to be followed to the letter!

What’s Next?

You have until the 25th of May 2018 to comply with the GDPR. That might seem ages away, but in reality there’s heaps to do to get your data protection house in order. You’ll need to analyse your data flows, understand where there are gaps in the business that contravene the new rules and put systems and processes in place to overcome them.

keep-calm-and-prepare-for-gdpr

Preparation is key!

The sooner you start the easier it’ll be, so what are you waiting for!?

This post highlights just a handful of the issues that need to be considered under the GDPR for fashion businesses. For more information or specific advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact me page above!

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Amazon – hot to trot with fashion offering…

DVDs, CDs, Zak Posen, Books…Hang on a minute; did you just say Zak Posen…on Amazon?

It’s well known that Amazon has been trying to enter the fashion world for some time, and 2015/2016 has really seen it step up its efforts to break the notoriously difficult market.

Amazon

Hey little guy! We love the Ama-bot! Perhaps all Amazon fashion deliveries should come in a package like this one…

The beginning…

Amazon has been on the fashion trail since as early as 2006 when it first acquired online retail website SHOPBOP. In 2011 it launched MyHabit, another online retail website created “in response to customers’ desires to shop intelligently from a selection of great brands”.

In 2012 it really took a leap of faith, opening a huge Brooklyn photography studio, hiring Barneys’ Fashion Director as an advisor and launching My Fashion on the Amazon website, a section dedicated to all things fashion. The following year saw the launch of East Dane, an equivalent to SHOPBOP targeting the male market.

Barneys NYC

Amazon pulled out all of the stops, even hiring Barneys’ NYC fashion director to advise on all things fashion!

Louis Vuitton on Amazon?

So has Amazon attracted any high fashion brands?

Well, not as yet, unfortunately! Designers such as Louis Vuitton have been reluctant to create an association with Amazon, preferring to keep their designs exclusive and prices high. In fact, the then Louis Vuitton Chief Executive, Yves Carcelle, made this perfectly clear during 2012, telling Vogue UK that “Amazon will never sell Louis Vuitton, because we are the only ones that sell it.

LV

“Amazon will never sell Louis Vuitton”…

In 2015, the Chief Marketing Officer of Amazon’s fashion division explained to Business of Fashion that they were not targeting designer brands, confirming that “there has been a lot of speculation on us entering the luxury market and that is just not something we’re focused on right now.

So which brave brands have been enticed by Amazon? Well, high profile designers such as Zac Posen and Kate Spade are both available on the US site, whilst Lacoste, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss can also all be purchased via amazon.com. Amazon also has a partnership with department store giants Debenhams. So whilst many designer brands may have thus far resisted Amazon’s call, Zac Posen can hardly be considered downmarket (especially not when a handbag could set you back $595!).

Lacoste

…but it will sell Lacoste!

The mission continues

Not one to be defeated, Amazon has continued to try and develop its fashion credentials, sponsoring the first ever New York Men’s Fashion Week held in July 2015, and the OCFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund Fashion Show held during October 2015.

Vogue

All about British Vogue

It has also partnered with up and coming British model Suki Waterhouse, marketing her favourite Autumn/Winter pieces that are all purchasable on Amazon, whilst East Dane has launched a new Michael Kors collection dedicated to ‘streamlined accessories’.

October 2015 saw the purchase of the new season of the fashion based reality show ‘The Fashion Fund’. The show features none other than fashion royalty Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg, and a dedicated section on the Amazon website will be set up to sell a collection of the 2015 finalists’ designs.

The new Prime Now service may also be a step towards the coveted fashion elite, with customers able to buy clothing and accessories with one and two hour delivery slots.

The future…

It’s clear that Amazon has increased its efforts to become a fashion destination, and there appears to be no sign yet that it will be slowing down any time soon. So whilst you may have to currently shop elsewhere for your Chanel handbag or Louboutin heels, there may be a time very soon when you can buy these alongside your books, DVDs and CDs, perhaps even by drone delivery!

Chanel

Wonder what Coco would think about her legacy brand being potentially bought alongside groceries?!

Pants Down at Black Forest Games!

After regrettably buying my husband a PS4 for Christmas, I thought it was about time I posted for all of the gamers out there, but of course maintaining a fashion link!

This week’s post focuses on Black Forest Games’ unsuccessful EU Trade Mark (EUTM) application for DIESELSTÖRMERS after opposition from the Diesel clothing brand.

The folks at Black Forest said “the decision caught us with our pants down” and issued the following photograph. At least the brand hasn’t lost its sense of humor!

Dieselstormers

That’s one way to respond to an EUTM application opposition!

All about the game

Dieselstörmers is a computer game, described as combining “roguelike action with 3D graphics and lots of old-school run ’n’ gun action”. In all honesty, this doesn’t mean a great deal to me, but hopefully it resonates with the hardcore gamers!

Black Forest Games, apart from its witty press releases, is an independent game studio that was established in 2012. The studio’s HQ is in Offenburg, Germany. You can find out more here.

Diesel is a well known mid-end clothing label, and sells its goods across the world. Not a brand you would typically associate with gaming!

Diesel

Diesel, a brand you would ordinarily associate with gaming?!

Matter of fact

Diesel S.P.A. owns two EUTMs for DIESEL, which gives the brand protection across all 28 Member states for goods like clothing, shoes and accessories, but surprisingly also covers things like electronic games, game systems, DVDs and computers among others.

Black Forest Games applied to register DIESELSTÖRMERS as an EUTM in April 2014 for goods including DVDs and CDs for computer or video games. The studio also made it clear that their DIESEL reference was to the fuel, and not an ode to fashion in any way.

Diesel opposed this application in July 2014 on the grounds that allowing the application would create a strong likelihood of confusion between its DIESEL mark and the DIESELSTÖRMERS mark.

Confusing

Diesel opposed the DIESELSTORMERS application on the grounds of likelihood of confusion with its well established brand

Black Forest Games expected to be able to settle amicably with Diesel as DIESELSTÖRMERS would not in any way relate to the main wares under the Diesel brand. However, Diesel turned out to be a tough cookie and decided to formally continue with the opposition.

Decisions decisions…

The EU IPO (the regulatory body governing EUTMs) agreed with Diesel. Black Forest Games’ application was rejected. The grounds the EU IPO referred to in its decision were:

  • The goods Black Forrest Games applied for were identical or similar to Diesel’s registered goods.
  • The marks were visually, aurally and conceptually similar based on the use of the word DIESEL in both.
  • The overall impression of the sign may have led the public to believe that the goods came from the same company, or from a linked company.
Similar

Far too similar for the EU IPO’s liking!

FTL verdict

This case is a timely reminder that trade mark oppositions are fought on the basis of the goods and services for which the earlier mark is registered, not just those goods and services for which it is used.

In this case Diesel was successful because its trade mark registrations covered computer games, even though its reputation is as a clothing brand. This is why it is so important to have professional trade mark clearance searches carried out before you decide to adopt a new brand.

Pacman

Who would’ve thought, Diesel games!

Since the decision, Black Forest Games has re-branded the game in question to ROGUESTORMERS – catchy!

Until next time it’s over and out. I’m off to brush up on my FIFA skills…

Hey! Hands Off My IP! (Patents)

Have you designed the next influential thing in fashion? You might want to patent it…

Patents can be used to protect inventions. With wearable technology on the rise, patenting enables inventors to stop third parties from using their invention without permission.

Fashion bubbles New York

Wearables, like those displayed in the Fashion Bubbles exhibit in New York, are becoming ever increasingly popular, leading to a rise in patent applications!

“Perfect solution” you say? Hold your horses, there are strict requirements on what you can and can’t patent and this post will take you through those hurdles. Also, applying for a patent can be time-consuming and expensive. Doesn’t sound too appealing does it? Well the good news is that the benefits can outweigh the negatives, which this post seeks to explore…

Jump those hurdles

Patents are only available if you have invented a new product or method for doing things. In the fashion industry, this may be a design feature of the garment or a technical feature, such as drag resistance technology, for example.

Patent plate from 1879

Patents are a long established form of intellectual property protection…check out this patent plate from 1879 – retro!

One of the earliest examples of patenting in fashion technology is by Danish company Novozymes which revolutionised the traditional use of stones to create stone-washed denim effect by utilising enzymes and microorganisms to create the exact same effect on jeans. Other examples of patenting being used to protect fashion inventions include products such as Speedo’s FASTSKIN FSII swimsuit fabric and Geox’s footwear technology.

The invention itself must be new, inventive and be capable of manufacture, but what does this mean?

  • New? There must be no public disclosure prior to putting through a patent application. Fashion tech company XO once deliberately designed wristbands that detect user’s emotions to not work outside the auditorium they were in. This prevented the product from becoming accessible to the public in any way, which would have affected their patent application.
  • Inventive? The invention must not be obvious to another person skilled in fashion design.
  • Commercialisation? The product should have the ability to be made in any kind of industry.
Brand new

Gotta be brand new baby!

This means that aesthetic creations, designs or logos, such as the iconic Louis Vuitton symbol, cannot be patented. Instead, a trade mark application could be pursued. For more info on trade marks, see my post on trade marks in the “Hey Hands off my IP!” series here.

Another often over-looked point is that it’s not usually possible to patent software. Software is protected by copyright in the UK. Here’s some more information on copyright from the series.

Sounds great – my invention fits the bill! How do I register a patent?

This is where the fun begins! Unlike copyright, patents need to be registered. Applications have to be made to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the territory or territories in which you want patent protection (usually wherever you are trading) and will require the following details, among others:

  1. a written description of the invention;
  2. drawings;
  3. claims that precisely set out the distinctive technical features of your invention; and
  4. an abstract that explains all of the important technical aspects of your invention.
A lot of 500 to 700 nm of exquisite light strewn across a pixelated matrix in linear crisscrossing fashion for your optical eye's delight and your mind's eye's respite

Fash tech’s 700m of exquisite light sewn into fabric for the eye’s delight!

Once the application has been processed, the IPO compiles a search report to investigate and assess if the invention is new and inventive, which can take up to 6 months! If all of the formal requirements are met, the application will be published approximately 18 months after filing.

Unfortunately it doesn’t end there…

Patent pending

It’s a long old process, so be prepared to wait!

Within 6 months of publication, more forms will need to be submitted along with an additional fee requesting a substantial examination for any changes required and this is reported back. If all of the application requirements met, the IPO will then grant your patent, publish your final application form and send you a certificate. Hurrah!

How long does a patent last for?

Patents can be granted for up to 20 years, but have to be renewed regularly during the 20 years, incurring a further fee! The first renewal is due 4 years after the date the patent was filed, and then annually. However, as always, there is a price to pay. This ranges from £70 for the first renewal to £600 for the 20th year!!

Wow, that sounds like a lot of effort – why bother with all this hassle?

Although the process to obtain and maintain a patent is long and expensive, with the right product, it is a great tool and can provide many benefits to those looking to generate a long-term investment return.

INTIMACY is a fashion project exploring the relation between intimacy and technology

INTIMACY is a fashion project exploring the relation between intimacy and technology. These Smart fabrics turn transparent when worn in close proximity to another person  resulting in feelings of an intimate nature! Yikes!!

In a fast-changing industry such as fashion where trends change season-by-season, it may not always be appropriate to register a patent and another form of IP protection may be better. However, with more and more start-ups looking to combine fashion and wearable technology, patenting could be very beneficial as this industry increasingly becomes mainstream, especially to prospective businesses or investors.

Patenting an invention gives you a monopoly right over your product. The mere existence of a patent application can also deter rival businesses from patenting a similar piece of technology.

Got my patent, now what?

It is your responsibility to police any unauthorised third-party use of the invention where they have manufactured, sold or imported it, not the IPO’s. It may be advisable to set up a watching service so you can keep an eye on any newly filed patent applications within the area of your invention.

Patented 1923

Keep a watch out for any potential infringements of your patent – it’s your responsibility, not the IPO’s!

A notable example of patent infringement in the fashion industry was when global retailer H&M infringed the ‘coveted bra technology’ of UK manufacturer Stretchline Holdings in a multi-million pound dispute. H&M sold bras using Fortitube technology without obtaining a licence from Stretchline Holdings. Tut tut!!

This goes to show the importance of having clearance searches carried out before applying to register a patent and also monitoring any future patents – not doing so could lead to a legal nightmare, which no one wants!

3D printing by Novabeans India 2

3D printing is also on the rise in the fashion industry – yet another form of fash tech!

Top Tips before applying for a patent?

Research, research, research – if the invention is not novel, inventive or capable of being manufactured, then the patent application will fail and your money will be wasted. Research online and through the IPO’s published patents catalogue to ensure there is nothing similar within your industry. This will not only help to ensure your invention is new, but will also ensure you don’t infringe anyone else’s patent rights.

Keep it a secret – confidentiality is crucial if a patent application is being considered. If your invention has been made accessible to the public in any way, this could seriously sabotage your application.

Secret

Ssshhh! It’s a secret – don’t spill the beans to avoid having your patent application declared invalid!

Be prepared for commitment – once your invention has been patented, it is important to analyse whether renewals are necessary and to monitor potential developments or inventions within your industry.

For more information on patents, feel free to contact me!

Naughty Gucci!

FTL’s newest post features a recap on an interesting US copyright infringement issue. This involved super-brand Gucci and occurred during a showcase of its Spring/Summer ‘16 collection.

The grudge arose when Gucci’s models walked down the catwalk in New York wearing golden nail rings highly similar to those designed and created by jeweller Bijules.

Gucci 1

Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2016 show

All about nail jewellery

Bijules is a famous jeweller renowned for its signature nail rings, with ambassadors such as Rihanna and Beyoncé flying the flag for the brand.

As we know from the last “Hey! Hands of my IP!” post on copyright, which you can find here, unlike copyright protected by English law, copyright in the US is a legally registerable right.

Bijules protected its copyright in the ‘Bijules Serpensive Nail Ring’ and ‘Bijules Serpensive Nail Ring II’ by registering them with the US Copyright Office in 2007. To view the registrations, type “Bijules” into the search box of this link.

Bijules 1

Shock horror! One of the fashion big boys ripping off an up and coming accessories designer – think of the publicity Kim!

Bijules bites back

Bijules founder, Kim Jules, stated that she may consider bringing proceedings against Gucci for copyright infringement following their use of the nail rings and commented:

“While it is an honor to be knocked off by Gucci, they have all of the resources to create something unique; instead they went back to something that’s steadfast and iconic of my company and that is unjust. If Gucci sells those nail rings to stores, those stores are going to believe Gucci made them and not me, and that is not a fair statement.”

Gucci 2

Although his designs are beautiful, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele is under fire for allegedly copying the New York based designer, Kim Jules

Jules also pointed out that Gucci Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, was aware of Bijules and their nail rings.

Here’s an example of the original Bijules designs:

Bijules 2

The Bijules original…

and here’s an example of Gucci’s later versions:

Gucci rings

…and a highly similar Gucci rip off!

Too close to warrant coincidence methinks!

A slap on the Gucci “Bijuled” wrist?

To date Kim Jules has not brought formal proceedings against the Italian fashion power house, and there doesn’t appear to have yet been word on whether Gucci will be making the nail rings available for retail sale.

FTL comment

Perhaps Gucci has taken note and won’t be progressing its “Gujuled” nail rings! Perhaps Kim Jules doesn’t think pursuing this would be commercially worthwhile…

Gucci 3

Gucci showcasing its accessories at Milan Fashion Week – S/S16

In any event, this is a great reminder that you should never ever try to pass off another’s design as your own. You will be found out!

A tut tut to Gucci who should know better!

Changing the Face of Fashion Week

With shows for AW16 fast approaching, this week’s post looks at the changes in store for Fashion Week and we mention the rebellious stance taken by Burberry – we love a non-conformist!

The BFC

The British Fashion Council is keen to increase consumer engagement during London Fashion Week. As part of their strategy the BFC has partnered with Ocean Outdoor, a media company that specialises in digital billboards.

LFW1

No longer for the elite, the BFC wants to make Fashion Week much more inclusive!

Inclusive Brits

Next week’s LFW shows will be streamed live to the general public via 60 outdoor screens. These will be located not just in London but across the UK with the aim of reaching 35 million people. This is nothing new to Ocean Outdoor, which broadcast the AW15 Hunter show and introduced the UK’s first shoppable billboard for Topshop a year ago.

The BFC has also teamed up with sponsor American Express, to enable speakers such as Gareth Pugh and Sølve Sundsbø to engage with all those hungry for some Fashion Week action!

There’s even a series of podcasts from Topshop

Topshop alone has made huge efforts to connect with its customers and is showcasing a podcast series featuring NeGen designers such as Ryan Lo and Danielle Romeril, who will talk about what has inspired their recent work – check it out!

LFW3

Wonder if the back-stage happenings might eventually become privy to the social eye!?

NYFW v LFW

Compared with the big apple, which has been selling fashion week packages in excess of $5,000, London wants to give people outside of the fashion industry an opportunity to experience shows first hand. Designers such as Emilia Wickstead and Holly Fulton are to showcase their wears to consumers on a non-selective basis. In addition, there’ll still be lots of Fashion Weekend tickets available to the general public from as little as £20 – you can’t say fairer than that!

Rebellious checks!

Burberry1

Burberry likes to go-it-alone. Along with Tom Ford, the brand is leading the way for fashion’s future!

Interestingly, the likes of Burberry, Tom Ford and Vetements have declared they will no longer conform to the traditional fashion calendar, with Burberry and Tom Ford releasing new-season items for sale immediately after the catwalk and Vetements showing its collections in January, well before the customary first shows of Paris Fashion Week.

A Single Man1

We couldn’t have a reference to Tom Ford without paying homage to the amazing film – A Single Man. The epitome of male classic style!

FTL verdict

So what’s going to happen to the fashion industry over the coming years? Will we continue with the traditional catwalk system, or will we move further into a more consumer-friendly showcase, perhaps via social media? Will the BFC’s consumer fit and individual brands initiatives break the rules of the customary fashion calendar and therefore open the floodgates to those wanting a slice of Fashion Week? Who knows, but perhaps we’ll have a better idea once the curtain falls on the AW16 shows.

Watch this space…

FTL Event – All you need to know about IP

Roll up roll up, here’s an event you just can’t afford to miss!

Ever wondered what intellectual property rights you might own and how to protect them? Bamboozled as to what intellectual property rights actually are and how they might be valuable to you? Or even wondered what all of the fuss is about and why people like me bang on about intellectual property rights so much?! Well look no further…

Next week I’ll be giving a free training session on all things intellectual property related at We Work in Soho, London on Tuesday the 16th February starting 6pm sharp.

The event is hosted by Osmond Desilva of Tech City Coffee and having been to many of Osmond’s events in the past, this is one not to be missed!

Old Soho

Throw back to the Soho streets of yester-year!

Here’s a comment from Osmond giving an insight into what Tech City Coffee is all about and how it could benefit you:

“Tech City Coffee is a provider of quality events to the burgeoning tech centre in London. The focus of each event is to help start-up founders and teams  with their business development and management needs in the format of an educational seminar, followed by networking.

The “Intellectual property for start-ups” seminar is aimed at educating founders on how they can protect their intellectual property rights.”

As homage to the great district of Soho the images in this blog post give you an insight into FTL’s favourite Soho haunts – check them out!

Stairway to Vintage - Beyond Retro

Stairway to Vintage – Soho’s Beyond Retro

Back to the subject at hand…

Join Louisa Dixon and me, FTL, for a talk covering IP basics for start-ups. We’ll be focusing on:

  • patents;
  • confidential information;
  • design rights;
  • trade marks;
  • copyright;
  • database rights; and
  • moral rights.
Bar Italia 2

The famous Bar Italia, a Soho institution since 1949!

We’ll also be asking for audience participation to guess what IP rights are in a well known tech product at the end of the presentation to see if you’ve been listening! If you’re lucky, there might be some edible prizes on offer!

Ronnie Scott's

Always great for a late night Jazz session

So pop down to We Work in Soho on Tuesday the 16th February at 6pm to hear all about IP rights for start-ups.

There’ll also be a chance to network with other like-minded delegates (75 of whom have signed up already) and plenty of opportunity to speak to Louisa and me afterwards if you have any burning IP related questions.

Bar Termini Soho

Bar Termini, serving the best espresso and cocktails around, a fine mix!

To book your free place on the event click here.

Hope to see you there!

I Love Soho

We do indeed!

Until Tuesday, over and out, FTL.

Festive Glitz, Glamour & Italian Made Shoes!

This week’s post sees Isabelle Bennett report on a Christmas fashion event hosted at Taylor Vinters’ office on the 33rd floor of Tower 42 in London, featuring comments from the organiser: Taylor Vinters’ employment law partner, Anita Rai.

For an overview of the event including an insight into some new exciting brands promoted by Kari C and The Collective, along with some last minute Christmas shopping inspiration, read on!

Kari C & The Collective

Taylor Vinters recently hosted a Christmas festive social event at its London office for a new and exciting client, Kari C.

Kari is a luxury shoe designer who creates beautiful bespoke shoes and who also has a ready to wear range.

glitz

Beautifully crafted bespoke shoes by Kari C

A range of existing and prospective clients and intermediaries, as well as some existing Tower 42 residents were invited along to the event.

Siladora

Luxury silk scarves by Sila Dora inspired by artists’ prints

There was a great show of  guests who were able to meet, network and speak to the designers about their products.

Attendees also had the opportunity to buy luxury goods (shoes, jewellery, perfume and skincare) from The Collective, which is group made up of new and exciting designers promoted by Kari.

Anita says

Anita Rai, who organised the event said…

AnitaRaiblog

Anita Rai, employment law expert, who also has a shoe collection to die for!

“I met Kari at one of the events run by the Sorority and felt that we instantly clicked. I loved her story as to how she had gone from trader to shoe designer.

At Taylor Vinters, we love to support budding entrepreneurs and grow with them supporting them along their journey. We decided to co-host a festive drinks and give Kari and her fellow designers a chance to show case their products.

It was a lot of fun and (obviously to support the cause!) I just had to purchase a pair of her divine shoes too!”

Attendees included people from Brainjuicer, Accenture, Brooke Roberts, McCann Fitzgerald, Armour Risk Management, Menzies, Wilson Wright and City of London Corporation.

KariCshoesign

A shoe view!

More on The Collective by Kari C

The Collective is a group of independent designers, skin care specialists and perfumers who are promoted by Kari C and whose products are stocked at her boutique in Beauchamp Place.  All products are of the highest quality and ooze luxury and class!

Evelin Vock

EvelinVock

Eye catching embroidery by Evelin Vock

Amongst the many talented and quirky clothing designers, was  Evelin Vock, a luxury women’s wear designer, whose brand focuses on outerwear.

Inspired by Nature’s beauty, no animal products are used in Evelin Vock’s designs, who is also an active supporter of PETA.  Using bright stitching and intricate unique designs, Evelin’s work is hard to miss!

Bruno Acampora Profumi

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Perfumery by Bruno Acampora Profumi, inspired by memories & experiences of countries, cities & cultures

As well as shoes, clothing and accessories, The Collective shows impeccable taste in beauty products.  Also attending the event at Taylor Vinters were perfumers Bruno Acampora Profumi.

Bruno uses his memories and experiences of countries, cities and cultures to produce beautiful fragrances, which are also stocked in Kari’s Beauchamp Place boutique.

Love Opulance

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Jewellery by Love Opulance

Love Opulence, a jewellery business inspired by the founder’s love for travel and fashion also came along to the event.  Love Opulence began life as a successful fine jewellery business in the depths of the Caribbean.

Paying close attention to detail, quality and finish, Love Opulence plays with colour, crystals, pearls and semi precious stones to bring to the table a range of stunning and unique jewellery.

FTL verdict

A great night was surely had by all. For further insight into The Collective’s designers as featured above, head down to Kari’s shop and check out the beautiful pieces showcased in store.

Thanks to our guest blogger Issy for her excellent report on the event and for the fab photos she snapped on the night!

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Issy Bennett, photographer, blogger and lover of a vintage handbag or two!

Data Protection – Considerations for Online Brands

The popularity of shopping online has undoubtedly made buying your favourite shoes or handbag even easier, but the ever-growing list of considerations for brands has only gotten longer! One of the main headaches is data protection.

For brands with an online presence already, or those just starting out online, a key consideration should be keeping your customers’ data safe.

Shops

Could online shopping be the end of the traditional experience?

What do I need to know?

In the UK, the Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA) contains certain obligations that anyone processing personal data must comply with. On your website, personal data will be things like your customer’s name, date of birth, address and so on. As the owner of a brand operating online, you may be considered the data controller under the DPA, and therefore the one responsible for protecting the data!

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Always know whether you are responsible for keeping data secure!

One of your top priorities, regardless of whether you are a data controller or data processor, should be ensuring you have privacy and cookie policies displayed clearly on your site.

What’s a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy simply sets out what you will do with the customer data you have collected. Before gathering data, you should make customers aware of why you need this. A wise move would be to ensure you have a privacy policy clearly visible on your website, explaining to customers what data you are collecting and why.

Data should only be collected for a lawful purpose (so for the processing of those new orders flowing in!) and you should make sure you tell customers when you make any changes to why you are collecting the data.

Shopping cart area

Don’t forget to let your customers know why you are collecting their data, as well as saying “thank you” for the purchase!

You always need to ensure you collect the data securely too, and don’t keep this for longer than needed.

If you send or plan on sending marketing emails (those wonderful discount emails), you should mention this in your policy.

What’s a Cookies Policy?

Cookies are text files implanted onto customers’ hard drives, which enable you to collect information about the person such as their name, address and user preferences. You can then tailor and personalise their shopping experience, and remove annoying tasks such as requiring a customer to re-enter their details before they can shop again. That way they can shop hassle free and even faster!

Cookies

We love cookies!

Cookies can therefore be a really valuable way of finding out about your customers, and encouraging them to return to spend more! You must however make sure you get consent from your customers for the use of cookies, and so a clear cookies policy on your website is a must. This needs to explain why you are using cookies and note that customers always have to opt-in.

Don’t forget about your employees!

You should also remember that data protection applies to employees too! To help guide us through the key data protection considerations for employers and employees, I have asked Razia Begum (our super Senior Associate, specialising in employment law, at Taylor Vinters) to answer some questions that commonly crop up.

An interesting fact about Razia is that not only is she a fantastic employment lawyer, but she also completed a course in fashion design and marketing at prestigious fashion college, Central St Martins – who could therefore be better placed to talk about this?!

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Introducing Razia Begum, Employment Law Extraordinaire!

FTL: So Razia, what are the main risks we should be aware of?

Razia: In this day and age data is increasingly centralised and managed digitally. Staff data (including financial and sensitive personal data), which is often not adequately protected by employers, may be more susceptible to falling into the wrong hands and being distributed for the wrong reasons.

Employers have a positive obligation to look after employees’ data and a data breach could prove costly. It may also lead to considerable reputational damage and embarrassment for the company.

If a breach does occur employees may also be able to bring claims such as breach of privacy, confidentiality and data protection law. The success of claims such as these relies largely on the degree of financial loss suffered by an employee as a result of the breach.

FTL: What should employers do?

Razia: They should set up effective data protection and fraud prevention (in relation to confidential data as well as revenue) policies, which are implemented and enforced as required. The processes and procedures within such policies should also tie into the organisation’s HR policies and provide for regular awareness training, for example, the key dos and don’ts of compliant big data usage.

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Employee data security is key!

Companies should also ensure they have appropriate policies in place in respect of “bring your own devices” (or BYOD) and remote working if applicable, as both of these can significantly increase the chances of a data breach.

FTL: Thanks Razia, for the stellar input! Lots to consider when looking after your employees’ data.

FTL Round-up

Although the focus should be on prevention rather than cure, in a digital world where online shopping is the norm, breaches are unfortunately almost inevitable, however big or small. Brands should also therefore have robust emergency response plans in place ready for execution should a data breach occur.

Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street

Online shopping is great, but you can’t beat the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street – or maybe that’s just me!

Data protection can be a mind-boggling subject and this post only highlights a few key taster points! So for more information on data protection feel free to get in touch via the contact me page.

“SNAP!” Says Lacoste

Does anyone remember the kiddie card game SNAP!? Perhaps not if you’re a digital native – maybe it was just an 80’s thing!

Well all of this nostalgia got me to thinking about a recent trade mark opposition from Lacoste against Eugenia Mocek, Jadwiga Wenta KAJMAN Firma Handlowo-Usługowo-Produkcyjna (phew!), we’ll just refer to them as the Applicant to save space, for their application to register KAJMAN as a logo in the shape of a crocodile. Perhaps not a SNAP! But surely similar?

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SNAP! or just similar?

Background

Here’s what the earlier 2004 Lacoste Community Trade Mark looks like…

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Lacoste’s croc trade mark.

…and here’s the KAJMAN mark, which was applied for on 1st February 2007 for purses, handbags, leather goods, footwear, and clothing (amongst other things):

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The KAJMAN logo.

The Lacoste mark, funnily enough, was also registered for things like purses, handbags, leather goods, footwear and clothing (to name but a few goods).

I’m sure you’d agree that the goods for which Lacoste’s croc is registered and the goods which came under the KAJMAN application are extremely similar!

What happened next?

Not wanting to roll over on this one, Lacoste wrestled with the Applicant and opposed the KAJMAN application with full biting force in May 2008 on the basis that:

  • the co-existence of the two marks would be confusing to the general public, in that one mark may be confused with the other (Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation No 207/2009 for all you law geeks out there); and
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Creating public confusion!

A decision

What did the powers that be have to say about this SNAP! happy fight? Surprisingly the Opposition Division rejected Lacoste’s opposition saying the marks were visually and phonetically different, that they had low conceptual similarity and Lacoste’s mark wasn’t overly distinctive in nature. It was therefore decided that no likelihood of confusion existed.

It was also noted that Lacoste did not provide enough evidence to support its point on the KAJMAN mark taking unfair advantage of the earlier registered mark, therefore damaging the reputation of the Lacoste brand.

Decisions

Decisions…decisions!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, yes, they are extremely similar, and yes of course Lacoste should appeal this decision…

Let’s appeal!

Lo and behold! Lacoste did exactly that in December 2010.

The Board of Appeal partly upheld Lacoste’s appeal saying a likelihood of confusion existed in relation to leather goods, purses, bags, footwear and clothing. Hurrah, at long last, the Board of Appeal had seen sense! Or perhaps not…

The Board of Appeal went on to dismiss Lacoste’s view, agreeing with the Opposition Division, that allowing KAJMAN to be registered would create an unfair advantage and potentially cause damage to Lacoste’s brand. So only half of the battle was won!

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Not quite game, set and match!

Recent news

On the 30th September this year, after further Lacoste and KAJMAN snipes, the General Court said that there was a likelihood of confusion between Lacoste’s croc and KAJMAN in relation to those goods listed above. They based their decision on the following factors:

  • the signs were conceptually similar;
  • the Lacoste mark had acquired a highly distinctive character for leather goods (class 18), clothing and footwear (class 25) through use (finally the Court is in agreement!); and
  • there was a likelihood of confusion that the public would believe that the goods had come from the same organisation, or were at least linked, with regards to classes 18 and 25.

The Court did however note that there was low visual similarity between the marks aside from the fact both represented a crocodile. Similarly, the marks were not held to be phonetically similar.

What does this tell us?

Despite the lack of any real visual similarity between the marks, Lacoste had built up a significant reputation with regards to goods such as leather bags, and as such had acquired a distinctive character for these, but as always EVIDENCE OF USE IS KING!

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Always always ALWAYS remember to keep records of use!

The marks were also conceptually similar, based primarily on the fact they were both representations of a crocodile.

The FTL verdict

So reputation through use can ultimately be key, just ensure you keep this evidence stored for a rainy day and don’t fall foul of Lacoste’s initial error by not producing enough evidence in support of any oppositions!

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A Lacoste 1970s vintage original. because we love vintage!

Crocs away!

For more information on trade marks, see my last post “Hey! Hands off my IP (Trade Marks)” here.

HUGE thanks go to Laura Rose for her help researching this case and to Issy Bennett for her creative input!