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

Photo: Conway Liao
‘Sopranos’ Star Drea de Matteo Lost Her Apartment in 2nd Avenue Explosion

Until yesterday afternoon, Sopranos star Drea de Matteo owned a unit in the tenement at 123 Second Avenue. This address and two of its neighbors both collapsed into a pile of rubble due to the explosion in Sushi Park next door at 121 Second Avenue. It was a 7-alarm blaze. According to reports, de Matteo maintained […]

hanksy-preview-1_wm
Prelude to Hanksy’s ‘Best of the Worst’ on Delancey Street

Hanksy and friends are almost finished transforming the spartan bank space at 104 Delancey into another funhouse for the “Best of the Worst” show. You wouldn’t even know that a Chase branch once operated in this spot. The whitebox nature of the space is redesigned, albeit temporarily. Promising to deliver a vibe akin to the […]

106rivington-block
Faulty Boiler in 106 Rivington Cellar Has Neighbors Worried

The controversial commercial unit at 106 Rivington Street – an address that lives in infamy – is again in the news. And this time for something way more serious than a liquor license. Especially given the tragic gas-related explosion up on Second Avenue yesterday afternoon. We are told that emergency personnel responded to 106 Rivington […]

Photo: Daily News
Today in LES History: Senator Barack Obama Makes a Campaign Stop at Cooper Union

On this day in… 2008 – Campaigning Illinois Senator Barack Obama took the stage at Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The then-presidential hopeful gave a speech about the economy, and proposed an additional $30 billion stimulus package to help during the downturn. Obama was introduced by Mayor Bloomberg. The event was highly symbolic, as Cooper Union […]

savenyc-graphic
Listen to Jeremiah Moss on WNYC Talking About #SaveNYC and Vanishing New York

The torrent of media coverage for the #SaveNYC campaign notched another huge get. Movement founder, and blogger extraordinaire Jeremiah Moss appeared on the “Brian Lehrer Show” yesterday. The candid, twenty-minute discussion was a great primer for the current commercial climate, and how the little guy is being forced from the Five Boroughs. It was also […]

  • 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.

  • http://www.fameappeal.com/ Fame Appeal

    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 !

    • http://www.boweryboogie.com Elie

      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