Owner of ‘Lower East Side’ Trademark is Now After Forever 21

Posted on: July 29th, 2016 at 5:12 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Robert Lopez with Chico, July 2011

When you own the trademark to the Lower East Side as it appears on clothing, it’s a busy life of litigation. Robert G. Lopez is at it again.

The small business owner, who owns LES Clothing Company (and formerly a store on Clinton Street), is now suing Forever 21 for usage of “LES NYC” branding. This action – initiated at the end of June – bumps the overall number of lawsuits against retailers to over twenty since 2009. Included in that lot are big-box retailers that have incorporated the Lower East Side name in their designs, among them Bloomingdale’s, Gap, J Crew, Macy’s, Puma, and Urban Outfitters.

World Trademark Review reports that the majority of these lawsuits reached a “likely settlement.” Lopez has been successful in many of these infringement cases largely due to extensive experience (13 years) as a paralegal. (He left to focus full time on LES Clothing in 2013.)

“A lot of small business owners may have particular rights in a brand name, design or other similar business asset, and be in a position where those rights are violated but don’t have the necessary resources, knowledge or capability to do what I have done in the course of my various lawsuits,” Lopez explained to the publication. “The average small business would never be in a position to do what I do because IP litigation is notoriously expensive: what small business owner can afford to pump 50, 100 or even 150 thousand dollars into fighting an IP litigation? Particularly when many larger corporations have unlimited financial resources available to them or specific budgets to engage in IP litigation.”

This image has been archived or removed.

LES Clothing Co. stickers, June 2012

Many have apparently taken to calling Lopez a “trademark troll.” He sees it more as being an “aggressive enforcer” of his rights.

“Some of these bigger companies will automatically see me as a small business owner not represented by counsel, and they themselves will be represented by some of the biggest law firms in the country. Therefore, they will look at my cease-and-desist letter – sent by me individually – and will put it in the drawer and laugh or will pay it no attention and pretend it doesn’t exist,” he claimed.

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