Judge Robert Dierker Sides with Missouri Fashion Week on Trademark Issue
A St. Louis Circuit Court judge ruled on Wednesday that Missouri Fashion Week can use the name ‘Missouri Fashion Week’ to promote its event. In April of this year, Saint Louis Fashion Week’s owners, Alive Media Group, filed a lawsuit claiming not only common law trademark protection, but also protection under Missouri’s unfair competition common law. Alive Media Group contended that Missouri Fashion Week must be barred from using the generic term ‘fashion week’ in association with its event being held in the City of St. Louis. In fact, Judge Dierker ruled that “because the term ‘fashion week’ is a generic term, the creation of Missouri Fashion Week does not constitute unfair competition”. He said the phrase ‘fashion week’ is not susceptible to trademarking and agreed with defendants that “It is not unusual for multiple fashion weeks to occur in the same city.” There are multiple fashion weeks in New York, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Alive Media Group also claimed that the creation of Missouri Fashion Week will cause confusion in the St. Louis market. On the matter of confusion, Judge Dierker said that “evidence of confusion between the plaintiff’s trade name and defendant’s trade name is feeble at best. “It is apparent from record here that ordinary persons, including the incautious, unaware or ignorant (but not the careless), using ordinary care and caution, are not likely to be deceived and misled by the similarity between Saint Louis Fashion Week and Missouri Fashion Week” he stated.
The judge ruled that the parties’ trade names are similar and the general public identifies Saint Louis Fashion Week with plaintiffs. Therefore Missouri Fashion Week must disclaim any association with Saint Louis Fashion Week to prevent “dilution” of the association between plaintiffs and their distinctive event of seven years.
“We’re more than happy to issue a disclaimer that says we’re in no way, shape or form associated with Saint Louis Fashion Week.” said Missouri Fashion Week co-founder Cillah Hall. “We believed all along that this was a silly lawsuit and we look forward to further invigorating the Midwest fashion economy with Missouri Fashion Week.”
Missouri Fashion Week’s attorney Bevis Schock said the following; “The judge seems to have been somewhat bemused by the case, for in reaching his conclusion, he quoted Charles Dickens “Both the World of fashion and court of chancery are things of precedent and usage..” and Oscar Wilde “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months”. But at the last, the court has gotten it right, with a cautionary restriction to avoid any possible confusion, has freed the parties to compete, which is what my client ever wanted.”
Judge Dierker, in his opinion, went on to say “the courts find that defendant is not motivated by ill will or malice in doing, or by any intent to injure plaintiffs.” Dierker said, “there is no evidence that defendant seeks to prevents its participants from participating in Saint Louis Fashion Week.”
For more information about Missouri Fashion Week, visit www.missourifashionweek.com.
For Media Inquiries; Contact Cillah Hall
(636) 259 9059
***DISCLAIMER: MISSOURI FASHION WEEK IS IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM AFFILIATED WITH SAINT LOUIS FASHION WEEK***
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