2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

trademark wars

Red Shoe Diaries: Christian Louboutin Set Back as Zara Cleared to Use Red Soles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2012 04:13 PM

Executives at Christian Louboutin are likely seeing red after losing a court battle against Zara over a pair of $70 red-soled shoes.

Louboutin took Zara to court in 2008 and won when the shoes hit the market saying that it alone had the rights to produce and sell red-soled shoes, but an appeals court in France has ruled in favor of Zara and is telling Louboutin it also has to fork over £2,500, or about $3,600, according to New York magazine. 

That isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, of course, but it’s an extra little face-rub in the mud for Louboutin, which has been on the warpath against counterfeiters of its signature red-soled shoes.

The ruling also doesn’t bode well for a bigger Louboutin appeal, against Yves Saint Laurent, in a case that the brand lost last summer in New York.Continue reading...


Chinese are Fear-Buying, Not In Love With, Western Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 8, 2012 12:11 PM

China has had more than its share of alarming news around product safety and authenticity. Urine in milk powder. Poisonous protein boosting melamine in baby formula, and iconic milk-based sweets. Lead-tainted children's shoes

It's unknown how much of the luxury liquor brand Maotai on shelves is fake; one recent sampling found 30 percent, and that was well below other expectations. Meanwhile, the amount of fake high-end Bordeaux is threatening to choke the growth of an entire wine industry in China. Poisoned preserved fruit. Fake rice, made of plastic. Fake contraceptives. In March, even McDonald's had to apologize for selling expired meat. There has been glow in the dark pork and watermelons injected with artificial ingredients. Other watermelons just explode in the field due to overuse of growth chemicals. The overuse of unnatural growth ingredients has forced the Chinese Olympic team to from refrain from eating meat for fear of testing positive for illegal hormones. Literally every day brings the announcement of a new consumer scam. Oh, and here's a new one: "Dead crayfish."

In China, the greatest brand asset is authenticity. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Because how does a brand convince consumers of its authenticity when consumers don't believe the brands' messages thanks to a barrage of bad press like all of this?Continue reading...

china breaking

Faux Bordeaux and Copycat Wine Spoil China's 'Homegrown' Brand Drive

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 15, 2012 05:03 PM

It kind of just rolls off the tongue: "Faux Bordeaux." But the actual words rolling off the tongues of winemakers dealing with the spike in wine knock-offs coming out of China these days cannot be printed.

As the nation's taste for wine explodes, so do opportunities for marketing knock-offs. Aside from the occasional heath threats of poorly-made batches, the growth of the counterfeit wine business threatens to choke the growth of an entire industry. What's more, the phenomenon again illustrates why a current nationwide drive to strengthen "homegrown" Chinese brands could be a bust.Continue reading...


In China, the 'S' in Apple iPhone 4S Stands for 'Snarl'

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2012 10:33 PM

At the Luohu port crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in southern China, authorities have seized more than 3,000 smuggled iPhone 4S units since January 1st, at the rate of about 47 per day. One desperate smuggler even tried to cross with 30 iPhones "tied to his waist and ankles."

Because the iPhone 4S sells for $125 less in Hong Kong than the mainland, smuggling has become an increasing problem. But Apple should see this as a good sign, considering how recent problems with iPhone 4S service are threatening to seriously handicap Apple's brand in China.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Michael Jordan Sues Chinese Knock-Off of His Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2012 10:39 AM

While Kobe Bryant just passed Michael Jordan's All-Star scoring mark, it won't diminish Jordan's stature or legacy. When most people think of Jordan, they think of his six championships with the Chicago Bulls, his five NBA MVP awards, and his leaping image that’s been immortalized by Nike as Jordan Brand.

Many today think of Jordan and see dollar signs around one of the biggest sports brands and athletes of all time. Inevitably, that leads to legal tussles to protect the Jordan cash cow. That's why the represent  the majority owner of the worst team in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats, has sued Chinese sportswear and shoe manufacturer Qiaodan Sports for wrongful use of his trademark.Continue reading...

app watch

Apple Plays Whac-A-Mole With Fake Apps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 22, 2012 05:58 PM

Apple is revisiting the approval process for products in its apps store after a fake Pokemon game went all the way up to No. 2 in its Apps Store this week.

"Pokemon Yellow," which cost 99 cents to download, made its debut on Friday and soared in popularity, but there was one problem, as CNN reports: it was published by Home of Anime rather than the actual owner of Pokemon, Nintendo.Continue reading...

pharma chameleon

Fake Drugs Fuel Brand Counterfeiting Concerns

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 22, 2012 01:25 PM

Battling counterfeit products is one of a brand's biggest headaches. More often than not, counterfeiting strikes luxury and accessory brands, since it is easier to sell fake branded handbags, shoes, and clothes online and in flea markets and bazaars around the world. But what about when buying a knock-off has life-or-death implications?

Fake products are penetrating an even more serious category than luxury goods — pharmaceuticals. America's Food and Drug Administration just announced the findings of the agency’s investigation of fake vials of the cancer drug Avastin that have showed up in California, Illionis, and Texas.

The FDA's tests indicated the vials did not contain Avastin's active ingredient, and traced the phony drug to the U.K. via a distributor in Tennessee. Reuters reported that the fake Avastin apparently originated in Cairo, Egypt and went from there through Switzerland to Britain. While the FDA was warned about the products by British officials late last year, it only confirmed that they were counterfeit last week. Cancer patients and medical practitioners, understandably, are up in arms.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Simply Red: Louboutin Makes Sole-ful Plea in Court Case

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 25, 2012 05:02 PM

Christian Louboutin is not about to let its very recognizable red sole get stepped on. The flash of color under spikey heels has become an identifying mark of the designer's high-priced shoes. Last August, Louboutin sought to protect that red sole in a case that pitted the iconic design house against another fashion legend, Yves Saint Laurent, who introduced shoes that were red all over, including the soles. But Louboutin was rebuffed by US District Judge Victor Marrero.

Hizzoner ruled that Christian Louboutin did not have a lock on the color red. In his opinion, Marrero wrote that "Louboutin's claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette. Louboutin would thus be able to market a total outfit in red, while other designers would not."

On Tuesday, Christian Louboutin was back in court, this time at the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, in an attempt to defend its right to exclusively use red, and specifically a tone it calls "China Red," on the soles of it shoes. Louboutin's attorney, Harley Lewin, told a three-judge panel that "Christian Louboutin has created one of the more iconic trademarks of the 21st century. Louboutin turned a pedestrian item into a thing of beauty."

Opposing attorney David Bernstein, arguing on behalf of Yves St. Laurent, countered "Artists of this type need the full palette of colors available. In order to compete and compete fairly, we need red. We don't want to find out that we can make green, blue, purple shoes... but we are enjoined from making red."Continue reading...

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