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As I’m writing this post, I am watching the long-awaited premier of the L.A. season of Project Runway on its new network, Lifetime. Fans of the popular show had to wait for the lawsuit between NBC Universal and Weinstein Co., over the rights to move the show from the Bravo network, to be settled before episodes of the 7th season could be aired.
This wasn’t the only legal battle the host of the show, Heidi Klum, has recently been involved in. Over the past five years, the Victoria Secret model turned television host has also been working to design her own jewelry line, which centered around a four-leaf clover motif. Klum recently announced that she would be discontinuing her line due to a lawsuit filed by luxury French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels in December of 2007. The French jeweler accused Klum of infringing on its trademarked clover design. The designs do bear a striking resemblance, although Klum insisted that “our designs never matched” and implied that Van Cleef & Arpels was also going after Louis Vuitton for using the clover. This kind of legal battle begs the question as to just how far a trademark on a symbol–such as a clover–can be taken, especially in the fashion world. Certainly Van Cleef & Arpels can’t have a monopoly on the use of a symbol as generic as the clover. But, at least for Heidi Klum and designer partner Pascal Mouawad, the legal battle was more than they wanted to fight.
As Heidi says at the end of every Project Runway episode, in fashion, either you’re in or you’re out. It looks like Heidi’s jewelry line is officially “out.” And, as in all things in fashion that go out of style, Heidi Klum’s line is now being sold at a substantial discount.
– Jamie Lynn Kern
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