Enormous Fashion Company Zara Opposes Trademark For Tiny ‘House Of Zana’ Fashion House
from the getting-some-Zs dept
The last time we discussed Zara, the clothing retailer based out of Spain, it was to witness the company tripping all over itself to apologize to mainland China for denoting Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries on its website. Well, now the company is back, this time for engaging in a somewhat silly trademark opposition to another, far smaller fashion house named House of Zana. After Zara opposed the smaller company’s trademark application, claiming that the names were too similar and would cause confusion, hearings were held in the UK.
During the hour-long hearing, Zara’s attorney, Julia King, submitted that the House of Zana trademark application should be refused because it was too similar in name, which could result in customers confusing one trademark for another.
Ms King said the word Zana was “one small brush mark” away from Zara and added “House of” was a common term used by “many parties” as a way of referring to fashion businesses.
There are a couple of problems here. First, yes, “Zara” and “Zana” are one letter away from each other. But, as House of Zana owner Amber Kotrri noted in that same hearing, the application is for “House of Zana”, instead of just “Zana.” It’s the entire trademark that Zara must oppose, not one small part of it.
From there, we can get into Zara’s claim that “House of” is so common a term that it shouldn’t even enter into the equation. First, that’s not really how this works in trademark law. And even if it was, “House of” is obviously not that commonly used in this marketplace, given that Zara itself is not known anywhere as “House of Zara”. It’s just Zara. And for the purposes of customer confusion between these two specific brands, that makes a difference.
Mrs Kotrri added that Zara had failed to provide evidence to prove consumers would find House of Zana misleading, and that it was clear to customers there was “no opposition”.
Likely because there is no consumer confusion to be pointed at, in this case. And, we absolutely must add to all this that Zara appears to have recently adopted a far more aggressive posture when it comes to policing trademarks. House of Zana is not the only company Zara has targeted with claims that other company’s names are too similar to its own. For instance, Zara has also challenged the trademark for Tara Sartoria, ostensibly because “Tara” and “Zara” are too similar. Tara Sartoria, by the way, is owned by Tara Nguyen, who employs “disadvantaged women in Indonesia and Vietnam” as a way to help them.
I could also note that Zara has been the subject of accusations that it infringed on the designs of other designers and sold them as its own in the past, but I won’t… Oh look, I guess I just did. The point here is that this is yet another instance of a big company trademark bullying smaller companies, mostly because it can. Certainly House of Zana is of no threat to Zara, yet here we are.