Havaianas has won a case in the Court of Appeal of Paris acknowledging the distinctiveness of its graphic trademark in a case against Too Beach, a French wholesaler that specialises in the distribution of beach products.
The court found the brand’s figurative trademark — which is a pattern composed of two symmetrical sequences of geometrical figures in the form of an elongated S, intertwined and positioned slantwise — was readily identifiable.
It continued: “[The] sign is independent of the various products that bears it and presents a purely arbitrary character in order to designate clothing products; its decorative aspect does not exclude its capability of fulfilling its function as an individual mark as long as it allows the consumer to identify the commercial origin of the products manufactured and marketed by [Havaianas parent company] Alpargatas, in particular the Havaianas thongs [flip flops]”.
A Havaianas spokeswoman told Drapers the decision sets an important precedent across the UK and the rest of the European Union: “It means Alpargatas is conferred certain exclusive rights resulting from the trademark registration, including the right to exclusive use of the mark. The non-authorised use of the trademark by other companies in the UK will amount to trademark infringement, likely to be prosecuted in courts.”
Havaianas said over the past five years it has launched 30 similar lawsuits in Europe, sent more than 360 cease and desist letters to infringers and 1.2 million fake Havaianas were seized by customs.