Legal

PETA Asks Lululemon About Slaughterhouse Practices

PETA Asks Lululemon About Slaughterhouse Practices

Lululemon Athletica is in the hot seat. Animal rights activist group PETA — which owns shares of Lululemon — submitted a shareholder resolution request Wednesday to the athletic apparel and accessories retailer’s board, asking Lululemon to reveal information regarding how Lululemon sources its goose down, which is used in some Lululemon jackets. 
PETA said shareholders have a right to know if Lululemon’s practices are “incompatible” with its animal welfare policy, and if so, how the company plans to reduce its impact on the animals. 
“Lululemon is selling jackets filled with the feathers of birds who are violently killed, betraying the yoga principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, that it splashes on its shopping bags,” Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “PETA’s resolution would prove to Lululemon that it’s misleading its customers about the suffering and deaths of animals in its supply chain.”

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A spokesperson for Lululemon confirmed that the company received PETA’s shareholder proposal, asking the retailer to list down as an item in its proxy statement, as well as Lululemon’s 2022 annual meeting.
Lululemon did not say whether it would include down in the proxy statement or on the agenda of its 2022 annual meeting, but did say through the spokesperson that “we are committed to upholding strong animal welfare practices by working with our vendors to have visibility into down sources and can confirm 100 percent of our down products are certified RDS, a standard that is considered industry best practice.”
The retailer added on its website that “we require that animals in our supply chain are treated humanely and with respect. We don’t use down that comes from birds that have been live plucked or force fed. We work to ensure the traceability of our entire supply chain by following an industry best practice called the Responsible Down Standard. The goal of the RDS is to protect and improve the welfare of the ducks and geese that provide down and feathers. Following the RDS ensures that our down comes from geese that have been treated humanely.” 
In Lululemon’s 2020 Impact Agenda, which outlined the retailer’s multiyear social and environmental efforts, the company went one step further, saying that, “a full 100 percent of our animal-derived materials will be traceable or certified in line with our Animal-Derived Materials Policy by 2025. Since 2016, 100 percent of our down has been fully traceable and certified to meet the Responsible Down Standard. We are working toward responsibly sourced wool that is traceable and preferably certified by a third party, such as the Responsible Wool Standard. We’ll continue to increase visibility and transparency for the rest of our supply chain.”
PETA shot back, claiming that “all birds used for down end up at slaughterhouses, where they are typically hung upside down, they’re electroshocked, their throats are slit and their bodies are dumped into scalding water for de-feathering.
“More and more consumers are prioritizing corporate transparency and cruelty-free fashion,” PETA said in its resolution. “Lululemon’s consumer base expects our company to uphold values, such as mindfulness and honesty touted on its website. Consequently, our shareholders deserve full disclosure on the slaughter methods used to obtain down in order to assess whether or not these methods align with our company’s humane claims and values.”

Lululemon uses goose down as insulation in some of its outerwear pieces, a partnership with down supplier Downlite, because it has a “higher warmth-to-weight ratio than other materials used for insulation,” according to Lululemon’s website. “This means more warmth with less bulk, making it an excellent high-performance material for layering and sweaty pursuits.”
Downlite also partners with Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, Canada Goose, Vuori, Banana Republic and The North Face, among others, according to the company’s website. 

Hermès Counterfeit Ring Gets Prison Sentences

Hermès Counterfeit Ring Gets Prison Sentences

PARIS — A Paris court has handed down prison sentences to 23 people in the latest Hermès counterfeit ring case and awarded 10.4 million euros in damages to the French leather goods house, according to Agence France Presse.
Twenty-three people were charged, including nine former Hermès employees, the news agency reported. A 41-year-old man was sentenced, in absentia, to six years in prison and fined 1.5 million euros; a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The individual was accused of being the mastermind of the network, which included a workshop in Hong Kong.
Some 400 handbags were made in clandestine workshops in France and Hong Kong, while 800 came from the house’s employee program, which allows workers to make their own handbags.

A monthlong trial at the end of last year resulted in the judgment related to handbags made between 2008 and 2012, according to the report.
Hundreds of copied Birkin bags, supplied by the international network, were sold in France.
Another individual, age 66, was judged to be the main supplier and sentenced to four years in prison and fined 400,000 euros.
Hermès, along with luxury peers also selling collectible, high-end hand bags, is known for vigorously defending trademark rights. The leather goods specialist’s bags have proven their status as a safe haven investment during the unsettled, pandemic times.  Other recent counterfeit cases have also involved employees.
Hermès did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Marc Jacobs Says Nirvana Doesn’t Own Its Dead Smiley Face Logo

Marc Jacobs Says Nirvana Doesn’t Own Its Dead Smiley Face Logo

Marc Jacobs International wants to put an end to Nirvana’s copyright infringement suit, arguing the band doesn’t have legal rights to the image at the center of the case.
“It is ironic how much trouble a smile can cause,” lawyers for Marc Jacobs told a California federal court on Monday. The designer’s legal team is pushing for a summary judgment in its favor, meaning a decision by the court before the case goes to trial. 
Their argument largely rests on the claim that the smiley face at issue — with Xs for eyes and a crooked smile with a tongue sticking out, long seen on Nirvana T-shirts and merch — was never properly registered as a copyright of the group. Such errors in its copyright allegedly left it open for Marc Jacobs to use, with minor changes, on a T-shirt, sweater and socks.

But the other big part of Marc Jacobs’ argument is that Kurt Cobain, the late lead singer of Nirvana, did not design the logo as the copyright for the logo purportedly claims.
“The creator of the registered T-shirt design is art director Mr. Robert Fisher, who was not an employee of Nirvana Inc., the copyright claimant listed on the registration, and who has sworn that he did not transfer his rights to anyone,” lawyers wrote. “There is no written or oral agreement that says otherwise.”

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Fisher is a graphic artist who worked for Geffen Records, Nirvana’s music label, according to Marc Jacobs. Fisher submitted testimony of his creation, including “documents evidencing the fruits of his labors on this project, including what he calls the original Xerox blow-up of the disputed smiley.”
Marc Jacobs’ team went on to argue that the designer’s version of the smiley face is not similar enough to the Nirvana logo anyway, as the eyes had been changed to an “M” and a “J,” although the rest of the face appears identical to Nirvana’s. It also claimed that “the disputed smiley is not protectable because it is a ubiquitous symbol that consumers do not associate it with plaintiff or a single anonymous source.”
“[Marc Jacobs] uses the disputed smiley as mere ornamentation, and the designation has no inherent or acquired distinctiveness,” lawyers claimed. “Even if the disputed smiley was protectable, there is no evidence of confusion, so there can be no finding of infringement.”
Lawyers asked the court to rule in its favor on all of Nirvana’s claims and in the designer’s countersuit, seeking an invalidation of the band’s current copyright.
Lawyers for Nirvana could not be reached for comment.
Nirvana sued Marc Jacobs in December 2018, claiming the band owned the smiley face logo through copyright. It claimed Cobain created the logo sometime around 1991, and that Nirvana has used it since then on licensed apparel including T-shirts, bags and hoodies.
But Marc Jacobs’ legal team started poking holes in the ownership claim last year, saying that founding Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl testified “that he did not know who created the X-Eye Smiley Face.” Another founding member, Krist Novoselic, said the same, purportedly adding, “this image had been around.…It didn’t seem like a new idea.”

Nonetheless, Marc Jacobs acknowledged in a court filing at the time that the doodle was indeed “inspired by vintage Nirvana concert T-shirts from the 1990s — the era of ‘grunge’ fashion.”

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