Filed under the more-money-more-problems space, high-end streetwear label Off White has been tackled by California-based denim and clothing company Paige for use of its signature diagonal stripe design.
The scrum began in January 2017, when Paige’s attorney reach out to Off White with a cease and desist letter, alleging that its striped design was similar enough to four trademarks owned by Paige there was risk of customer confusion over the origin of the mark. In the document, Paige said the diagonal stripe has been part of its logo since 2005.
In all likelihood, the letter arose from Off White’s trademark application that would apply protection of its horizontal stripe to a wide range of goods. In addition to the cease and desist letter, Paige also filed a petition to have the application canceled. [Note: The Fashion Law breaks down in detail what Off White applied for in its initial July 2016 trademark application.]
Initially, the two brands attempted to settle out of court, but talks broke down, and on April 21, 2017, Off White filed a trademark lawsuit in New York against Paige, staking a firm claim on the ownership of its diagonal logo, which Off-White received trademark protection for in February.
For anyone familiar with the two labels, from the outside it seems like an odd battle. While both can claim a horizontal trademark that slants from right to left, as Off White pointed out in the documents it filed, the Paige trademark is only used as stitching as a call out on the pockets and seams of some of its jeans. Founded in 2013, a big part of Off White’s identity is attached to the prominent diagonal stripe it features on clothing, accessories and shoes.
In paperwork filed with the state of New York, Off White’s legal team stated, “There is no likelihood of consumer confusion as to source, affiliation, sponsorship, or connection with the defendant that is caused by Off-White’s use of the Off-White diagonal marks,” adding that the two marks “have coexisted since at least as early as 2013, and there is no evidence of actual confusion.”
In addition to protecting its own claim to the diagonal stripe, Off-White further clapped back at Paige by seeking to invalidate some of Paige’s diagonal stripe trademarks, arguing that the brand hadn’t used them within the past three years, which classifies them as abandoned.
According to WWD, attorneys were Paige were surprised by Off White’s actions, “given that the parties had been engaged in settlement discussions.” He added, “We expect the matter will be resolved but if it is not, Paige will vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
Paige was founded in 2005 by Paige Adams-Geller, who is now described as the company’s creative director. In 2012, the company brought in outside investment from UBS and private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. In December 2015, Reuters reported the company was being offered for sale by UBS with a $400 million price tag. It is not clear if the company is still on the block. Currently it is still listed on TSG’s site as a partner.