- Robyn Turk |
A one-year-old brand proved that diamond quilted patterns are fair game. New York-based brand Oliver Thomas won a complete victory in a lawsuit brought against MZ Wallace Inc. over the use of the pattern on handbags.
Oliver Thomas founded his namesake brand last year alongside Sue Fuller to create a line of functional, affordable handbags. The brand uses technological solutions to provide features like smart compartments to allow extra convenience to its shoppers. The style of its bags are versatile and customizable, with an eye to trends and consumer interests.
A few of its styles, including the Wingwoman Tote and the 24+7 Cellphone Crossbody utilize a quilted diamond pattern. The popular textured pattern has also been used in handbags by MZ Wallace.
Though MZ Wallace brought up the lawsuit in a New York federal court, believing the multiple Oliver Thomas products bore too similar a design to its own, the court determined that MZ Wallace has no trade dress rights in its nylon quilted product. Judge Denise Cote ruled that MZ Wallace does not have the right to monopolize the use of diamond quilting.
Judge Cote also noted in her ruling that MZ Wallace utilized “business behavior” that was “unsavory and will hopefully cease.” She said, “These include posting or encouraging others to post accusations that Oliver Thomas’s bags are knock-offs on the Oliver Thomas Instagram page, implying that Oliver Thomas bags are ‘counterfeit and knock-off goods’ in its August 2018 letter to MZ Wallace retail partners, and using threatening and disparaging language directed at Oliver Thomas representatives at a trade show.
“Quilting isn’t new nor is it owned by anyone,” said Oliver Thomas co-founder Sue Fuller in a statement. “We set out to create a fun and very functional, affordable line of machine washable, vegan certified bags and accessories for how people live today. We have met a need in the marketplace without compromising our high standards and values.”
Photos: courtesy of JJBPR