Detroit Vs. Everybody’s Infringement Tangle With T-shirt Co.
Detroit Vs. Everyone is bringing an online t-shirt seller to court over clothing that is reminiscent of their shirt designs and language.
In an infringement suit filed in Michigan federal court earlier this month, streetwear brand Gotham City Online, which sells graphic t-shirts, has been selling clothing with similar designs on Amazon and the Gotham City websites. Among the clothes in question are shirts sold by the Pop Threads website, which is also listed on the Gotham City website, and which has phrases like “Chicago versus All” and “Class of 2020 versus All” that have the writing on the “Detroit Vs Everyone” classic T.
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The “Detroit Vs Everybody” shirt is priced at $ 34.99 on its website, while the allegedly hurtful “Class of 2020 vs Everyone” t-shirt on Amazon is priced between $ 7.50 and $ 28.99 is listed.
“Detroit Vs Everybody is a native organic brand that Tommey Walker created and cultivated from the ground up,” said the company’s attorney, Joseph A. Bellanca of Hertz Schram PC.
“And because of his goodwill and all that goes with the continued cultivation and efforts of the brand, he has established not only federal trademark registrations but also exclusive trademark rights,” he added. “We expect others to adhere to well-regulated federal law.”
The lawsuit marks the latest development in the ongoing infringement dispute between the parties. Detroit Vs Everybody previously issued takedown notifications through Amazon, a feature that allows brands to flag sales of allegedly infringing products on the platform.
In response, Gotham City Online filed petitions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year questioning the validity of Detroit’s trademarks against Everybody. These petitions are pending and will be held while the current lawsuit is ongoing.
“One of the reasons the petitioner is unwilling to adhere to this is because he used the words’ vs. Everyone, “as permitted under the Lanham Act and protected by the First Amendment,” argued Gotham City Online in one of its petitions. The online company also relied on grammar rules to argue that “vs Everybody” could not be registered as a trademark by the streetwear company.
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“Since ‘vs’ is a preposition that mediates conflicts between two opposing sides, ‘vs Everybody’ only makes sense if it is preceded by a proper name (e.g. ‘Chicago vs Everybody’, ‘New York vs Everybody’)” argued Gotham City in its petition. “This proper name is not given in the contested registration.”
Detroit Vs Everybody, whose first collection came out in 2012, also has a collaboration with Gucci, WWD recently reported.
Jonathan Garriss, Gotham City Online’s chief executive officer, alluded to the collaboration, arguing that Gotham City websites were selling graphic t-shirts at affordable prices.
“We respect [intellectual property] Rights, but if a company abuses the branding system, we will push back, ”said Garriss.
“We understand DVE doesn’t want us to sell a shirt for $ 15 if they are trying to sell Gucci shirts for $ 390,” he said. “However, we believe our use of ‘against all’ (their supposed trademark is ‘against all’) is appropriate, and we believe that people of all kinds should have access to an inexpensive shirt.”
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