Does Trademark Law Have Room For A Sense Of Humor? Dolce & Gabbana Sue Dolce & Banana

from the now-if-there-was-something-that-rhymed-with-dolce dept

It appears that Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana doesn’t feel that trademark law has room for jokes. It has sued a small Capetown, South Africa store called “Dolce & Banana.” It seems like the shop might have a reasonable parody defense, but in the end, it really is just a joke. Is anyone actually fooled into thinking this shop is somehow connected with the luxury brand? That seems doubtful. Either way, the store has changed its name from Dolce & Banana:

To just “… & Banana”
Of course, the woman who runs the store, Mijou Beller, apparently took to Twitter asking the luxury firm why it was bothering:

“Dear Stefano, please let us be. And visit us in Cape Town. I have always admired your famous sense of humor so present in your brand and in your designs. And although I appreciate that Dolce & Gabbana is a very successful commercial enterprise, I fail to understand why Dolce and Banana is a threat.”

In the end, it’s that final point that is the key. How was this brand doing any damage at all to D&G?

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Companies: dolce & gabbana

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Comments on “Does Trademark Law Have Room For A Sense Of Humor? Dolce & Gabbana Sue Dolce & Banana”

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38 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

” might have a reasonable parody defense”

Well, I don’t think so. Even though it’s not a legal standard by any stretch, the sign is enough to probably confuse idiots in a hurry, who might only look at the first half of the sign (and the &) and not really look further.

It should also be pointed out that the sign’s font is VERY similar, which could add to the confusion.

I would suspect that a sign in a different format with a different look might not have attracted so much attention.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“That says much more about you than it does about anything else.”

Yes, it says I have traveled the world extensively, lived in different countries and cities, and learned that what passes for a store in your neighborhood might not be the same as it looks in other places.

You probably need to get out more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, I am saying that location isn’t enough to excuse a clear attempt to play off a trademark – but that play off the trademark is enough to perhaps risk the trademark if it isn’t zealously protected in that country.

It is never as simple as Marcus tries to make it look.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

>Yes, it says I have traveled the world extensively, lived in different countries and cities, and learned that what passes for a store in your neighborhood might not be the same as it looks in other places.

Then you, sir, should have the tact to realise that you are a living insult to me, my culture and my country. What passes for normal for you might be completely unacceptable in other places. As the embodiment of this rule I therefore request that you jump off a cliff as is rightfully deserved in our culture.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The damaged D&G by existing and forcing them to look like tiny minded, money grubbing, dickheads who have no sense of humor when they sued a tiny little business.
They will bellow and moan about how they were “forced” to do this or suddenly their entire brand would be up for grabs by anyone, blithely ignoring there are much easier ways to solve these sorts of disputes and you could create amazing good PR for the brand by not looking like giant asses.

But when your allegedly dodging taxes, using “gang rape” images to sell your brand, and generally being dicks to your Hong Kong customers, I guess anything is fair game.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolce_%26_Gabbana#Controversies

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Dolce & Gabbana make some of the ugliest crap I have ever seen, and why anyone thinks that riffing off their name would be a plus it beyond me. I could afford to buy their crap, but since it is crap, why would I? With them, Coach, Louis Vuitton and other “haute” gimcrackery makers, the world is a much uglier place than it should be.

Drew says:

You know what needs to happen… You see all these fucking companies using lawsuits to hurt the little guy. They damn well know they are going to be thrown out but the damage has already been done.”Costing them time/money they can’t afford” They need to make the companies that bring the worthless lawsuits against others 100% responsible for cash reimbursement for the courts cost and time and the person/s involved.

That means all lawyer cost plus time and they should be fucking harsh when it comes to time. There are plenty more things the courts could be doing. “LIKE SENDING KILLERS AND RAPIST TO PRISON”
(Also yes I realize them types of trials are going to be with another judge) ((HOWEVER There would be more resources for it if not wasted on pointless bullshit))

If they would just teach a few of these mother fuckers a lesson I guarantee the numbers would drop based on the fact they already know the only point of their lawsuits is to cost people money who simply cannot afford it.

My new view of Dolce & Gabbana I hope someone gives them a good dose of chainsaw rape. It’s basically what their doing to the little guys.

Signed,
Ben Dover

LazyDave says:

It’s tempting to think this is another of those David vs. Goliath scenarios, though I wonder about a few things. Namely, if Dolce & Gabbana is arguably well-known in Cape Town, has established trademark rights there, etc.

From reading this story:

http://www.wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/going-bananas-5836227

It seems they’ve been at it since six years ago. Of course, it’s D&G’s burden to prove consumers are indeed likely to be confused with D&B, but using one’s financial muscle does seem more practical.

Alas, it’s still sad to see things like this happen.

paolo says:

Mandarin Plaza, DG and Semion Mogilevich

Yes, It is true, I read this story lately which makes me feel truly sick, as sometimnes you believe that such a powerful brand should only polay fair. Nothing more misleading. Dolce and Gabbana got straight directly into avoiding paying taxes in their own country, and now they cooperate with a dangferous Criominal semion Mogilevich in Mandarin Plaza Kiev. Thats a real scandal, however, I am sure they will win all the casesa and pay many bribes anyway…

Armando says:

Re: Re: Mandarin Plaza, DG and Semion Mogilevich

OMG:) Darling,m the point is, they have no reputation at all so there is nothing to destroy. Have you heard about Hong Kong racism and tax evasion? and now by opening a store in a shopping Center in Kiev,( mandarin Plaza as I remember is quite new) owned by a criminal ( quite serious,by the way, i checked in google)they just proved that they have no reputation.

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