Resident Sues J. Crew Over Lower East Side Trademark

Posted on: February 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 am by

Slapping the “Bowery” or “Lower East Side” brand on clothing and accessories these days is all the rage. Hoodies, tees, boots, perfumes, and the like are fair game.  Just ask J. Crew, who nabs neighborhood street names for its product lines.

But a quick note to all you entrepreneurial fashion upstarts out there – refrain from using “LOWER EAST SIDE” or “THE LOWER” on any of your new apparel.  Indeed, Clinton Street resident Robert G. Lopez allegedly owns the trademark for the area designation. Since 1997, Lopez has operated an independent line called L.E.S. Clothing Co., which sells branded tees, caps, hoodies, and other urban streetwear. See where this is going?

Armed with this intellectual property (trademark #R31067), Lopez is going after the J. Crew Goliath for trademark infringement. He is suing for all profits received exploiting LOWER EAST SIDE and punitive damages, and will be representing himself in the case, sans attorney (pro se). Seems like a bit of a stretch that a jury would rule in his favor. What do you think?

J Crew Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Lower East Side

[via Fame Appeal]

Recent Stories

Martin Scorsese Spent His 75th Birthday Filming ‘The Irishman’ in the Cold Night

On the occasion of his 75th birthday, Martin Scorsese spent Friday evening on the not-so-mean streets of the Lower East Side. Filming the much-hyped film for Netflix, The Irishman. (The crew all sported big buttons reading “I’m a friend of Marty Scorsese” to celebrate his age milestone.) For twelve hours, the corner Orchard and Broome […]

‘Rebelle’ Taps Out After 2 Short Years on the Bowery

Michelin-rated Rebelle – on the Bowery for more than two years – called it quits after business Saturday night. The closure comes roughly eleven months after sister restaurant Pearl & Ash likewise disappeared. Announcement of its doom circulated Friday afternoon via Eater upon learning that staff was informed to not accept reservations after November 18. Surprised? […]

Two Bit’s Arcade on Essex Street Shuttered by Health Department Last Week

Is it game over for Two Bit’s Retro Arcade? The Essex Street arcade has been noticeably silent all weekend in the aftermath of a city inspection. Department of Health inspectors paid a visit last Thursday and shut the place down, apparently for “operating without a permit.” (It’s the second such closure in Hell Square in […]

September Wines Probably Won’t be on Stanton Street Much Longer

The Lower East Side appears poised to lose one of its cherished businesses in the coming months. Hell Square is eating its own. September Wines & Spirits – the local mom-and-pop situated at Ludlow and Stanton Streets – might soon depart the neighborhood after more than a dozen years on the block. There are already […]

Uncapped: Beneath the Paint with the Legendary AUDIE U5

This latest installment of Uncapped is more than a year in the making, and we are stoked to have Audie U5 join us. BOWERY BOOGIE: Audie U5. Welcome to the series. Instead of the cherished and/or default “what do you write?” how about, why do you write “Audie?” Audie U5: Always Undeniably Dope In Everything!  Nah, […]

  • Jen

    I think all those shirts are stupid, but J.Crew deserves to be sued, trying to act all hip and “downtown”. They’ve tried hard to shed their waspy prep school image, but they really shouldn’t try so hard, it’s unbecoming.

  • Saiko

    I don’t believe that something like this should be considered anyone’s property, but I can’t help rooting for one of the “little guys” to beat these giants at their own game. It’s symbolic of fight against the corporatization of the city in general. I don’t see why he couldn’t win–some woman in Baltimore owns the copyright on the colloquialism “Hon”

  • 5th Gen.

    Corporations aren’t allowed to represent themselves pro se – he has to hire a lawyer, or this suit will be kicked out of court pretty quickly (so long as the trademark is in his corporation’s name rather than his personal name). I don’t know that much about trademark/copyright law, but I think prior use of the term the “Lower East Side” makes it uncopyrightable/trademarkeable – just like when Donald Trump idiotically tried to copyright the phrase “You’re fired” and got laughed out of court. If anyone owns the term, it should be the city. Maybe if he offers to donate all proceeds to the city I’d get behind him, but it’s completely absurd to “own” the term for your neighborhood.

  • from FAME APEAL thanks for support, Fame Appeal brought attention to the plight of LES clothing. Being a law student and operating a fashion/entertainment legal blog is tough, it means a lot that you noticed !

    • Was a cool piece. Nice touch with the David v. Goliath bit.

  • Shawn Chittle

    As a proud owner of most of Robert’s stuff (and testimony he’s a nice guy) I hope he prevails or at least are paid a hefty sum by J. Crew legal for licensing!

    First is first, the law is the law. I’m not a lawyer but I do know the reason you take out Trademarks and Copyrights is to protect your brand from confusing entrants. If this J. Crew stuff confuses people into thinking it is somehow affiliated from Robert’s then they are in trouble. I for one would be confused if I saw it.

  • dmnyc

    This dude has no case whatsoever. But, it IS one way to get in the spotlight because most people have never heard of this company.

  • Charles

    Trademarks are a bit outside my wheelhouse as well, though I took a fair amount of IP in law school. I’m wondering, even given an earlier-registered trademark upon which the J. Crew merchandise could potentially infringe, whether an argument could be made that said merchandise is, in trademark parlance, geographically deceptively misdescriptive?

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Resident Sues J. Crew Over Lower East Side Trademark - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle -- Topsy.com()

  • Pingback: Week in Review: February 5 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle()

  • Kgot88

    He should make Jay Crew shirts