Fashion label allowed to incorporate characteristic features of a luxury handbag
The Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main has ruled in a trademark dispute between the Berlin fashion label Namilia and luxury handbag manufacturer Hermés that the fashion label can adopt iconic features of the handbag in their creations. The court justified the decision by stating that engagement with a brand can be covered by artistic freedom.
Hermés objected to the performance at a fashion show
The fashion label Namilia presented fashion creations at a fashion show that were inspired by the luxury handbag from Hermés. These creations were promoted on the internet and social media. Hermés took legal action against the performances.
Artistic expression supersedes Hermés' property rights
The court ruled that these performances are covered by artistic freedom and that the “interest rooted in artistic freedom“ of the fashion label in the artistic expression of the fashion show outweighs Hermés’ property rights.
The court argued that the brand is not denigrated or diminished, but instead serves as a socially desired reference point for luxury goods. The association with the luxury handbag is only one part of the overall staging and does not constitute trademark infringement.
To the point
The decision emphasizes that engagement with a brand can be protected under artistic freedom. This ruling could have potential implications for future trademark disputes, particularly in the art and fashion industry, and could lead to further expansion of the protection of artistic freedom.