Classixx vs H&M

 In Infringement, Trademark, Trademark law, US Trademark Law

Hennes & Mauritz, H&M, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, is continuously facing lawsuits for trademark infringement. A recent ongoing case is against Classixx, a DJ duo composed of Michael David and Tyler Blake.

David and Blake have been active together since 2007. Their company, Hush Hush Sound, Inc., holds the rights to the Classixx trademark, covering ”Musical sound recording and musical video recordings in all media” and ”Entertainment services in the nature of live musical performances by a performer or group”.

In July this year, one of their fans posted a picture on Twitter of a H&M sweatshirt with Classixx printed across the chest, asking if they were selling merch in the fashion giant’s outlets. Classixx retweeted the post a few hours later, asking if someone could buy them “a copy of this sweet H&M bootleg”. They are selling various Classixx branded merchandise in their own web shop, but it is noteworthy that they have not protected the mark for those products.

In an attempt to resolve the dispute, Classixx’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to H&M. The company replied that “use of a word as a decorative feature on an article of clothing is not trademark use”. Moreover, it denied any wrongdoing and referred to the band as a “relatively unknown DJ duo”. According to Classixx’s lawyer, their music has been played in H&M outlets around the world, which he claims to have supportive evidence of. However, like many other retailers, H&M is most likely using a B2B music service, with tailormade playlists for different departments (Men’s, Home, Kids etc.), which may explain its lack of knowledge of the DJ duo.

Following the response, Classixx filed a complaint for trademark infringement in the District Court for the Central District of California, demanding trial by jury. They claim that H&M’s use of their trademark has caused actual confusion and state that they believe the use has been intentional.

In addition to the monetary compensation, which can be significant if the ruling is in their favour, Classixx is also demanding that H&M will be permanently prohibited from using the trademark in any way.

H&M has filed a motion to dismiss the case and the motion is set for hearing on January 22, 2018.

Otmore’s trademark specialists handles cases similar to this on a regular basis, enabling our clients to protect their brands in markets where they are active or plan to launch. Contact us to find out more about how we work proactively to minimize the efforts and resources related to these processes.

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